The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) on Thursday began a consultation on two proposed new disciplinary approaches that would provide the self-regulatory organization (SRO) with more flexibility to address less serious breaches of its rules.
“With these changes, discipline would become more timely and proportionate to the offenses,” IIROC says in a news release.
The first approach concerns an “early resolution program” (ERP) to allow the SRO to settle certain cases more quickly. The second proposes a program for punishing minor violations of IIROC’s rules.
An ERP would permit early settlements in cases where the essential facts of a violation are evident quickly and a full-scale investigation is not likely to add much, IIROC says in a notice.
The program would allow IIROC “to address wrongdoing more quickly by reducing the time required to complete a case, and encourage firms to take corrective action and compensate clients,” the notice says.
The second approach would enable the SRO to impose fines on both firms and individual reps for relatively minor infractions; the fines would be $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for firms. This approach would allow IIROC to impose more meaningful sanctions in cases where a warning letter alone isn’t adequate, but a full-scale enforcement action may not be warranted in the current system, the notice says.
Additionally, under this program, the regulatory breach would only be publicly reported on an anonymous basis, and it wouldn’t become part of the formal disciplinary record.
Public comment on the two proposals will be open for 90 days, ending May 23.
IIROC will also solicit investor input on the proposals directly through an online survey with a subset of a pool of 10,000 investors.
“IIROC welcomes the opportunity to hear from investors, industry and other stakeholders about the changes we propose to ensure a fair, effective and timely enforcement program,” says Elsa Renzella, senior vice president, registration and enforcement, IIROC, in a statement. “We expect these approaches will provide faster resolution and allow us to focus our resources on more serious cases where there has been harm to investors.”