Stacked white books on rules and regulations

The Ontario government’s plan to regulate advisor titles is going to be led by the new provincial regulator the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) leading its efforts to promote industry innovation.

The OSC published its final statement of priorities on Thursday, which sets out the regulator’s policy agenda for the year ahead (to March 31, 2020).

Since the OSC’s draft agenda was published back in March, the government tabled its first budget that featured several initiatives focused on the capital markets. The OSC has now added several of those initiatives to its final priorities.

However, it also noted that the government’s plan to start regulating the titles used by financial planners and advisors will be handled by the FSRA, which formally launched earlier this month to oversee the insurance and pension sectors, among other provincially regulated segments of the financial sector.

The OSC, which had previously tried to implement its own efforts at regulating advisor titles, is instead adding three new priorities to its agenda, stemming from the provincial budget.

These include setting up a new Office of Economic Growth and Innovation, adopting a more economically focused approach to rule-making and setting definitive service standards.

On its other major pre-existing policy initiatives, the OSC reiterated its intent to continue consulting on the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) proposed client-focused reforms that aim to better align the interests of the industry with its clients. This will involve publishing revised rule proposals along with the rest of the CSA.

It also pledged to continue consulting on the CSA proposals to address concerns about investment fund fee structures.

Last year, the CSA proposed to outlaw deferred sales charge structures (DSCs), and to ban discount brokers from collecting trailers, but Ontario’s government opposes banning DSCs.

In the year ahead, the OSC said it plans to publish revised proposals in this area for further comment too.

The OSC noted that these two policy initiatives — client-focused reforms and proposed action on fund fee structures — attracted the most comment on its draft priorities.

“While there was consistent support for the identified broad outcomes, some respondents favoured more consultation while others wanted us to reach decisions and move forward,” it said.

Along with these major policy efforts, the OSC’s agenda includes a long list of other initiatives, including efforts to reduce regulatory burdens, to continue developing the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System (CCMR) and to enhance oversight of the derivatives markets, among numerous other items.

“Our statement of priorities for 2019-2020 will guide our efforts to promote confidence in Ontario’s capital markets, reduce regulatory burden, facilitate financial innovation and strengthen our organizational foundation,” Maureen Jensen, chair and CEO of the OSC, said in a release.