At the Investment Funds Institute of Canada’s 2020 leadership conference on Monday, a regulatory panel spoke about the challenges and opportunities arising from the Covid-19 crisis.
Regulators noted the collaboration that occurred between the industry and self-regulatory organizations (SROs), as well as with the International Organization of Securities Commissions.
Collaboration resulted in financial services firms receiving timely compliance relief, such as filing extensions and an increase on the cap on mutual funds’ short-term borrowing to ensure that the funds could meet redemption demands.
“Industry and regulators came together in an incredibly co-operative fashion […] trying to ensure that our markets could continue to operate and that investors’ interests were being served,” said Brenda Leong, chair of the B.C. Securities Commission. “It was just a really impressive display of unity.”
Leong said regulators collaborated with industry and government to ensure a broad definition of essential businesses so that all market participants would be covered, including exchanges, clearing houses, commissions, fund managers and dealers.
With the demonstrated quick pandemic response, regulators now aim to maintain their efforts beyond the crisis.
“We want [regulatory agility] to flow to the inevitable rebuilding phase,” said Grant Vingoe, interim chair of the Ontario Securities Commission. “Providing the circumstances for capital raising and recovery is going to go on for a long time.”
Referring to technological transformation and the shift to working from home, Vingoe said he expects regulatory exams to be more tailored as regulators increasingly rely on data. He said regulatory oversight may continue to be remote.
Vingoe also expects measures to be introduced to improve client interactions and efficiencies. “It’s necessary to focus on those things that are really impactful on the [client] relationship, and improve the delivery of services,” he said.
Vingoe noted that Ontario’s Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce is oriented toward industry efficiency, including client service delivery.
Despite the need to respond to the pandemic, regulators on the panel said their overall goals remain intact.
The CSA’s priorities into 2022, established in its business plan published in June 2019, haven’t so far changed because of the pandemic. These priorities include such things as the client-focused reforms and regulatory burden reduction. Other work includes consulting on the SRO framework review.
Louis Morriset, the CSA chair and president and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers, said he expects the pandemic to have only “a moderate impact” on the timing of “certain” initiatives.