This year may see the resolution of several long-awaited regulatory initiatives. We’ve compiled a list of the most meaningful issues to watch.
Financial advisor compliance
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has pledged to consolidate the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada — and their respective contingency funds — into a single industry SRO and investor protection fund by the end of 2022.
- The CEO and board should be named by June 30.
- The SRO and investor protection fund should be operational by Dec. 31.
Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are in various stages of introducing advisor title regulations, with legislation having passed in both Ontario and Saskatchewan.
In 2021, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) consulted on further revisions to its proposed guidance on measures to regulate the use of the financial advisor and planner titles. Saskatchewan’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority consulted on proposed regulations for The Financial Planners and Financial Advisors Act. And the Financial and Consumer Services Commission of New Brunswick launched a consultation in August about the possibility of regulating titles.
Consultations in all three provinces ended in the fall. FSRA submitted final rules for approval in January. Watch for further updates.
Product shelf shrinkage and tied selling
In November 2021, Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy invoked a provision in securities legislation to ask the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to review the availability of third-party investment funds on banks’ product shelves and the banks’ practice of tied selling to corporate clients.
The OSC’s report is due Feb. 28.
A ban on deferred sales charge (DSC) mutual funds will take effect in all provinces and territories this year. The CSA is allowing firms and advisors to continue selling DSC funds until the ban takes effect by providing relief from the client-focused reforms, which require that clients’ interests be put first.
The ban takes effect June 1.
Product disclosure reforms
In October 2021, the CSA published final amendments for eight burden-reduction measures for investment funds. The measures streamline annual disclosure requirements, cut filing demands and trim the need for certain regulatory approvals. The CSA said this package of amendments will be followed by additional measures to curb compliance costs for investment funds. The next phase will consider changes to the prospectus filing regime, continuous disclosure, alternatives for delivering disclosure to investors, and other matters.
Most of the new rules take effect in January.
Firms will have until September to consolidate prospectus and annual information form filings into a single annual filing, and to designate a website to post regulatory disclosure documents.
The CSA has signalled it will release total cost reporting proposals (a.k.a. CRM3) that aim to harmonize and enhance cost disclosure for both mutual funds and segregated funds.
The proposals should be released by June 30.
In October 2021, the CSA published proposals that would introduce climate disclosures for public companies. The proposals are largely in line with the standards set by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and are intended to improve the comparability of the information that companies disclose while also minimizing compliance costs.
The proposals were out for comment until Jan. 17.
The CSA has stated the rules wouldn’t take effect before the end of 2022.
Issuer disclosure reforms
In spring 2021, the CSA published proposed reforms to continuous disclosure requirements for issuers. The proposals would combine the existing financial statements, management discussion and analysis, and annual information form into a new annual disclosure statement for annual reporting, and an interim disclosure statement for interim reporting. The proposals also suggest allowing venture companies to move to semi-annual reporting rather than quarterly, and would eliminate redundant reporting requirements. Submissions to the consultation generally applauded the objectives of streamlining companies’ disclosure and curbing regulatory costs, but investor advocates warned that investors may suffer if disclosure becomes less frequent.
The consultation period ended Sept. 27, 2021. Watch for updates in 2022.
In May 2021, the CSA published final rules setting out disclosure requirements for companies that use non-standard accounting measures. The national instrument took effect Aug. 25 and set rules for using financial metrics that don’t adhere to generally accepted accounting principles.
The requirements apply to financial year-ends that fall after Oct. 15, 2021 for reporting issuers.
The requirements apply to financial year-ends that fall after Dec. 31, 2021 for non-reporting issuers.
CSA investor panel
In December 2021, the CSA announced it would launch its own investor advisory panel and began related consultations.
The consultation closes Feb. 1.
The CSA said the panel would be constituted in the spring.
Bank customer protection
A new consumer protection framework takes effect for the banking sector in 2022. The framework includes a new obligation requiring banks to resolve customer complaints within 56 days, but the current guidance from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is 90 days.
The framework takes effect June 30.
The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments is undergoing independent review by Osgoode Hall Law School professor Poonam Puri.
The consultation deadline was extended to Jan. 31.
The reviews of the investment and banking sides are scheduled to be completed by late March.
Other regulatory issues
Ontario’s Capital Markets Act
In October 2021, the Ontario government unveiled its proposed Capital Markets Act, which would replace existing legislation for both securities and derivatives. The new law would adopt many recommendations from the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, and would become so-called “platform” legislation. That model sets out the basic provisions of the law and grants broad rule-making authority, while leaving detailed requirements to regulations.
The consultation period ended Jan. 21. Watch for updates later this year.
T+1 trade settlement
The U.S. has plans to move to T+1 trade settlement for securities. The Canadian Capital Markets Association is working with the domestic financial services industry and coordinating with U.S. industry groups to maintain a common standard for North American markets.
The U.S., and therefore Canada, is projected to move to T+1 by the first half of 2024.
Insurer’s capital rules
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) closed a consultation on revisions to the capital rules for the insurance sector in September 2021. OSFI’s proposed changes to the life insurance capital adequacy test, the minimum capital test and the mortgage insurer capital adequacy test reflect new international financial reporting standards for insurance contracts that take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
The revised rules are expected to be finalized by August 2022.
OSFI pushed back the implementation of a new standard approach to calculating capital requirements for life insurers with a segregated fund guarantee business by two years to Jan. 1, 2025.