The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) announced on Friday that it has revised its policies to enable the use of no-contest settlement agreements in certain cases.
Several years ago, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) became the first Canadian regulator to utilize no-contest settlements, which allow regulators to resolve cases more quickly by entering settlements that don’t require admissions of wrongdoing.
For respondents, the ability to settle cases without admitting to any misconduct also allows them to resolve regulatory proceedings quickly and enables them to avoid making admissions that could possibly be used against them in civil proceedings.
Under the ASC’s new policy, the regulator may use no-contest settlements when the conduct is self-reported, respondents are co-operating with the regulators, and are taking financial responsibility for their actions.
For example, the OSC has used these settlements in a number of cases against industry firms involving allegations of client overcharging, which have seen the firms pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to investors.
“Our goal with this new enforcement tool is to offer, when possible, a new way to provide restitution and disgorgement to victims or those who have been harmed by securities misconduct,” said Stan Magidson, chairman and CEO of the ASC, in a statement. “This provision also provides market participants with an opportunity to address their misconduct with efficiency and certainty.”