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The Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) endorses the basic approach of the Canadian Securities Administrator’s (CSA) proposed amendments on client-focused reforms (National Instrument 31-103) but calls for some tweaks, in comments published Friday.

The comment period on the ambitious set of reforms that aim to improve outcomes for retail investors closes today.

In its comments, the IIAC says it appreciates the CSA’s efforts to embed client first principles in the existing rules regarding suitability and conflicts of interest, instead of adopting an overarching best interest standard.

At the same time, more clarity is needed from regulators in certain areas, says the IIAC, such as more clearly defining and differentiating between the concepts of “best interest” and “putting their client’s interest first.”

The investment industry group also recommends that the CSA clarify its Companion Policy 31-103CP, and that it make clear where there is flexibility in the rules for firms to use alternative methods of achieving securities regulators’ underlying objectives.

“Over the summer, the IIAC client focused reforms working group, comprised of industry professionals, reviewed the CSA proposals, identified impractical rules with suggested alternatives, as well as pointed to the need for greater clarity related to the compliance process. The working group also outlined that more streamlined and clear rules and guidance will promote cost-effective compliance and confidence among advisors and their clients,” says Ian Russell, president and CEO of the IIAC, in a statement accompanying the industry group’s submission.

Additionally, the IIAC recommends that the CSA strike a joint committee along with the industry self-regulatory organizations to help provide the industry with clarity, and to facilitate implementation of the proposed rule changes.

“The IIAC looks forward to engaging with the Canadian Securities Administrators on its proposed amendments on client-focused reforms. We believe our suggestions improve the prospects of the reforms meeting their intended public interest objectives,” Russell adds.