Maureen Jensen was officially confirmed as the next head of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) on Thursday.
Late last month, Ontario's finance minister, Charles Sousa, nominated Jensen, who has spent the past five years as executive director and chief administrative officer with the OSC, to become the next chairwoman and CEO of Canada's largest regulator. Her nomination was subject to legislative review, but an order in council was issued on Thursday formally approving the appointment. She will serve a two-year term, effective Feb. 10.
"I'm delighted to learn that Maureen Jensen has been confirmed as the new chairwoman and CEO of the OSC," says Sousa in a statement. "[She] is well respected for her financial services expertise and leadership in securities regulation. Maureen has been instrumental to the OSC leadership team since 2011 and I'm confident that with her at the helm, this important agency's work will continue safeguarding investors and ensuring capital markets in Canada are efficient and competitive."
Jensen's appointment comes at a time when the regulatory structure in Canada is in flux. Several provinces and territories, along with the federal government, are working to create a new co-operative regulator that would effectively involve merging the participating regulators, including the existing agencies in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon.
Officially, that new authority is slated to launch next autumn. However, there remains a good deal of work to be done before that can happen. Legislation needs to be finalized and passed at both the federal and provincial levels, final rules must be developed, as does a mechanism for the new authority to interact with the regulators in jurisdictions that are not participating in the proposed cooperative regulator. Moreover, it's not entirely clear whether the new federal government supports the initiative, which began under the previous administration.
"This is a crucial time for our agency as we move forward with efforts to modernize capital markets regulation in Ontario and Canada. The OSC will continue to support the government of Ontario in establishing and developing the co-operative capital markets regulatory system," says Jensen in a statement issued on Thursday. "At the same time, the OSC will continue to focus on enhancing the retail investor experience, providing greater access to capital for businesses and strengthening our enforcement program through new tools such as no-contest settlements and a whistleblower program."
Jensen adds that she is "deeply honoured to be selected to lead the OSC. … The OSC plays a critical role in the health of Ontario's capital markets and economy, and I look forward to working with market participants and our highly capable staff to achieve stronger outcomes for investors and the capital markets."
The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) endorsed Jensen's selection as the next head of the OSC when her nomination was first announced. At the time, the IIAC issued a statement in support of her nomination, citing her "deep background in securities regulation, broad business experience, and tested management skills.
"Her nomination makes eminent good sense," the IIAC said. "She brings leadership to guide the OSC at a critical juncture — assessing the impact of recent extensive reform and rule-making; working though the transition to a co-operative securities regulator; and finding the right response to the tumultuous and uncertain capital markets, the widespread loss of many small investment dealers and ongoing consolidation of the investment industry."
Photo: Ontario Securities Commission