The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is bringing the Investor Education Fund (IEF) in house.
The OSC said Wednesday that the highly regarded IEF, which has been responsible for creating a variety of innovative investor education tools and resources, will be integrated into the commission's Office of the Investor. The combined functions will be rebranded as the Office of Investor Policy, Education and Outreach.
The IEF was founded by the OSC in 2000 to improve financial literacy and investor education in Ontario. It has been funded by monetary penalties collected by the OSC in enforcement actions, but has always operated independently from the commission. Headed by Tom Hamza, it has become a leading provider of investor education. Its consumer website (GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca) receives more than 1.8 million visits a year, the OSC reports.
The regulator says that the new Office will "lead efforts to identify and understand investor issues and concerns through investor engagement and research; coordinate all investor focused initiatives, including investor education and outreach; and ensure investors' perspectives are considered and addressed in policy and operational activities at the OSC."
The new Office will officially come into being at the start of the OSC's next fiscal year, on April 1, 2015. In the meantime, the OSC reports that the IEF and the existing Office of the Investor are already working together.
"Investor protection is at the core of what we do – and to do it well, we need to connect directly with investors. This new Office will allow us to engage more investors across Ontario so we can better understand what they need, how they invest and how their concerns should be reflected in our regulatory policies," said Howard Wetston, CEO and chairman of the OSC.