U.S. whistleblower awarded US$2.5 million

The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) will consider introducing a new whistleblower program as it aims to boost compliance and enforcement while also curbing the regulatory burden, according to the regulator’s new
three-year strategic plan, which was on Monday.

Specifically, the provincial regulator is planning to explore the creation of a whistleblower program “designed to motivate individuals to report information about serious violations of Alberta securities law.”

The ASC’s plan doesn’t specify whether the provincial regulator expects to follow the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) lead by introducing a program that would pay financial rewards for tips that lead to significant enforcement action.

At the same time, the ASC is planning to consider introducing compliance settlements that would “address breaches that are detrimental to the integrity of our market, but are insufficiently significant to warrant enforcement procedures.”

Apart from the compliance and enforcement functions, the plan also indicates the ASC will be looking for ways to reduce the regulatory burden in the province.

“Regulating the Alberta capital market is our raison d’être, but we must do it intelligently,” the ASC’s strategic plan says. “That means ensuring that our regulatory regime is appropriate to the needs of our market, and promotes strong investor protection while not unduly burdening issuers and other market participants.”

To that end, the ASC will continue to work with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to ensure that regulation is as harmonized as possible, “while still remaining a strong advocate for the unique needs of market participants in Alberta.”

The ASC will participate in a CSA “red tape reduction” project “to streamline and simplify regulatory processes.” At the local level, the ASC is also planning to review “policies relating to the struggling venture market — and the small dealers that support that market — to ensure that there is due consideration of the costs of regulation compared to the benefits.”

The emerging areas the ASC plans to focus on during the next three years include derivatives markets, climate change disclosure, energy sector regulation and fintech. The ASC’s other top priorities include investor education and cybersecurity.

“The ASC strategic plan is the blueprint for our path forward, outlining where we are at present, where we want to be in three years, and how we plan to get there,” says Stan Magidson, chairman and CEO of the ASC, in a statement. “Regulating the Alberta capital market is our raison d’être. We must do it intelligently, anticipating the future needs and challenges with a strong sense of collaboration.”

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