compliance puzzle

The new “plain language” version of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada’s (IIROC) dealer rules has received the provincial regulators’ blessing, and will take effect next June.

Industry self-regulatory organization IIROC said Thursday that the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has approved its plain language rulebook, which will replace its existing dealer rules on June 1, 2020.

The original intent of the new rulebook was to make the SRO’s rules easier to understand and comply with, but the project, which began in 2016, includes more substantive changes.

For instance, it restructures IIROC’s rules to focus on its core requirements while moving certain details into guidance, and it eliminates some obsolete requirements.

In terms of enforcement, any ongoing disciplinary proceedings will continue under the existing rules. Enforcement cases that start after June 1, 2020 will be governed by the new rulebook.

IIROC indicates that it will grandfather existing exemptions from dealer rules for provisions that remain in the new rules. For exemptions from proficiency requirements, IIROC recommends that reps contact the registration department to determine the status of their exemptions.

Existing principal/agent agreements with IIROC will also be grandfathered.

However, the new rules will require changes in certain areas.

For instance, registered reps with portfolio management businesses will have four months from the time that the new rules are implemented to “transition into either the portfolio manager or associate portfolio manager approval categories,” IIROC notes.

Additionally, many dealers will have to re-do their managed account client agreements to adhere to new requirements that the agreements reference clients’ current financial situation, investment knowledge and time horizon, in addition to their investment objectives and risk tolerance. Dealers will have 12 months to comply.

IIROC says that it will be providing training to help dealers comply with the new rules, with details to come.

“The transformation of the rule book is a major step forward for IIROC, enabling greater understanding and application of our rules by firms and advisors,” said Irene Winel, senior vice-president, member regulation and strategy at IIROC, in a statement.

“Cleaning up unnecessary, duplicative and obsolete requirements and more clearly outlining our expectations and objectives should help firms with compliance by reducing uncertainty and regulatory burden.”