British Columbia provincial parliament building, Victoria, BC

The British Columbia government intends to overhaul the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM)  to strengthen oversight of the financial services sector and better protect people’s savings, the government announced Monday.

The government intends to introduce enabling legislation in the spring of 2019 to update the structure of FICOM to make it an independent Crown agency.

The new agency will maintain responsibility for regulation of mortgage brokers, insurance and trust companies, pensions and credit unions. It will be operationally independent, yet accountable to government, and funded by industry.

The reform’s objective is to “bring B.C. in line with international standards for financial regulators,” the government says, adding reform will also enhance the agency’s accountability to government and help attract and retain the best talent..

“The financial services sector has undergone significant shifts in recent years as technology and international standards have evolved. While industry practices have rapidly changed, B.C.’s regulatory structure has not, requiring changes to better protect people when they use the financial services sector,” the government says.