Canada’s securities regulators are proposing new rules that would introduce regulatory oversight for financial benchmarks. The move comes in the wake of the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) market manipulation scandal.
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published proposals on Thursday to implement a regime for regulating benchmarks, the companies that administer benchmarks, and firms that contribute to the calculation of benchmarks.
The CSA said it’s seeking to regulate this area given the growing importance of financial benchmarks to the Canadian capital markets, and because misconduct involving benchmarks in other markets “has led to significant negative impacts.”
In 2012, regulators in the U.S. and the U.K. unearthed evidence of widespread benchmark manipulation, largely as firms sought to boost their derivatives trading positions. That scandal led to massive regulatory sanctions, lawsuits, criminal prosecutions and regulatory reform to bring some oversight to a largely unregulated corner of the financial markets.
“Benchmarks are increasingly important to our Canadian capital markets. Hence, with the aim of protecting investors, we are proposing a securities regulatory regime that would provide oversight of designated benchmarks,” Louis Morisset, chair of the CSA and president and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), said in a statement.
The proposed rules would specifically designate Refinitiv Benchmarks Services (UK) Ltd., which currently oversees the major Canadian benchmarks—the Canadian Dollar Offered Rate (CDOR), and the Canadian Overnight Repo Rate Average (CORRA)—as the only regulated benchmark administrator, and CDOR and CORRA as its designated benchmarks.
The regulators indicated that their proposals seek to reduce the risks of abuse, including benchmark manipulation involving CDOR and CORRA, as well as the risks of interruption or uncertainty surrounding these key metrics.
The CSA also noted that it may, in the future, seek to regulate other benchmarks and their administrators if they become “sufficiently important” to Canadian markets, if regulators become concerned about them, or if an administrator applies for designation.
Comments on the proposals are due by June 12.