From the Regulators

OSC extends exemption for impact investing portal

By James Langton |

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has granted an extension to MaRS VX, an impact investing facilitator, on its exemption from know your client (KYC) and suitability requirements, while it bolsters its compliance systems.

Toronto-based MaRS VX is a not-for-profit entity and a wholly owned subsidiary of MaRS Discovery District (MaRS). It operates an online portal that matches accredited investors with issuers that aim to solve social or environmental challenges. MaRS VX is registered as a restricted dealer in Ontario and Quebec.

The not-for-profit had sought an extension on regulatory relief from certain KYC and suitability requirements, which was set to expire on Dec. 17. The OSC has given MaRS VX an extension until Sept. 30, 2016, according to a decision published in the Dec. 24 issue of the OSC Bulletin.

A compliance review by OSC staff found deficiencies and areas for improvement in MaRS VX's compliance with Ontario securities laws, the OSC decision notes. As a result, the not-for-profit has agreed to hire an independent consultant to help strengthen its compliance system. OSC staff have approved the compliance plan, which is in the process of being implemented, and MaRS VX is co-operating with the regulator to address all the deficiencies and strengthen its compliance system.

The extension is subject to certain conditions. Investors are limited to investing a maximum of $25,000 in a single offering on the portal in a calendar year, and a maximum of $50,000 in total in all offerings on the portal in a calendar year.