The ongoing battle over the future of self-regulation escalated on Tuesday when the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) announced that it is developing a plan for implementing its proposed vision for a new SRO.
Last year, the MFDA published a paper setting out its proposed model for a new SRO that would oversee all registered firms, including exempt market dealers (EMDs) and portfolio managers, alongside fund dealers and investment dealers, while hiving off the responsibility of market regulation to the provincial securities regulators.
The MFDA proposal came amid a review of the SRO structure that’s being undertaken by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). Ontario’s Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce has also recommended reforming self-regulation by merging the MFDA with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) in the short-term, with the ultimate goal of expanding oversight to other registration categories over time.
The MFDA is now pushing ahead with the development of an “implementation roadmap” for its preferred model, which, it argued, is closely aligned with the recommendations of the Ontario task force.
“The task force’s recommendations to create a new single SRO to oversee all advisory firms, with a strengthened accountability framework, including its governance recommendation to include CSA nominees on the new SRO board, are very much aligned with the MFDA’s proposals,” the MFDA said in a notice.
In the meantime, the CSA is continuing to review the comments it received on its consultation on SRO reform, and has indicated that it will publish its conclusions later this year.
“The roadmap is intended to support the ongoing consultations on fundamental reform of securities industry self-regulation currently being conducted under the leadership and direction of the CSA,” the MFDA said in a release.
“Our goal is to empower and assist all stakeholders — investors, industry, regulators and governments — in envisioning a clear path toward a new SRO driven first and foremost by the public interest, and underpinned by sound governance, industry expertise and responsiveness to investor and market needs,” said Mark Gordon, president and CEO of the MFDA. “A clear implementation roadmap, which enables everyone to visualize how such change can be achieved, is a critical step in this effort.”
Notwithstanding the MFDA’s efforts, IIROC has advocated for a straightforward merger of the two existing SROs. Trade groups for the EMD sector and portfolio managers have opposed being drawn into an SRO altogether.