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Maureen Jensen, the head of Canada’s largest securities regulator, is stepping down as chair and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) 10 months early.

The OSC announced that Jensen will leave the helm of the commission on April 15. She has headed the OSC since 2016, and was reappointed to a second term that began in 2018 and was to run until February 2021.

OSC vice chair Grant Vingoe will take over as acting chair in April.

Prior to becoming head of the OSC and its first female chair, Jensen was executive director and chief administrative officer of the commission from 2011 to 2016.

“It has been an honour to serve Ontario investors and market participants,” Jensen said in a statement.

“These past nine years have been the most meaningful in my career. I have enjoyed every moment working alongside my respected colleagues and leadership team, and contributing to Ontario’s vibrant, healthy and internationally recognized capital markets.”

As head of the OSC, Jensen championed improved retail investor protection. That effort culminated most recently with the adoption of the client-focused reforms (CFRs), which will be phased in over the next couple of years.

However, Ontario’s government has resisted regulators’ other major effort to enhance investor outcomes by eliminating deferred sales charge (DSC) mutual funds. Late last year, the rest of the Canadian Securities Administrators — excluding Ontario — said they planned to eliminate DSCs.

Jensen also led the OSC’s recent project to reduce regulatory burdens. In November, the commission published a report setting out over 100 recommendations for cutting the costs of compliance.

“The OSC is well on its way to becoming a more modern regulator, committed to continuously improving how we regulate,” Jensen said.

Jensen has also helped champion efforts to improve gender equality in corporate boardrooms and executive suites.

A geologist by training, she started her career in mining and spent 20 years in that sector before shifting to finance and regulation — including stints at the Toronto Stock Exchange, Market Regulation Services Inc. (RS) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

“Maureen is an exceptional leader who has demonstrated integrity and dedication. She cares deeply about this agency and Ontario’s investors and capital markets, and leaves behind a strong legacy that will endure,” said OSC lead director Lawrence Haber.

“Ms. Jensen’s commitment to public service and contributions to the OSC have successfully positioned Ontario to continue to grow as one of the world’s leading capital markets,” Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips said in a statement.

Phillips said that Jensen’s work on reducing regulatory burdens has bolstered confidence in Ontario’s capital markets, and her efforts at improving gender equality have seen the number of women on corporate boards increase during her time as chair.

Vingoe, the incoming acting chair of the OSC, was previously a partner with law firms in Toronto and New York, and has been an independent director at the RS and IIROC.