Canada’s Investment Managers Applaud Federal Finance Minister’s Decision to Launch Canadian Securities Regulator Transition Office

(June 23, 2009) – The Investment Counsel Association of Canada (“ICAC”), the voice of the country’s portfolio managers and investment counsellors, endorse the federal government’s decision to launch a Canadian Securities Regulator Transition Office.

“If ever there has been a time in our history to restructure our capital markets regulation to improve investor confidence and protection, now is the time,” said Katie Walmsley, ICAC President.  “As virtually the only industrialized country without a single regulator, how can we smoothly implement G-20 recommendations to strengthen our financial system with 13 separate securities regulators?  Federal leadership is required by this new office and we are delighted that the Canadian Securities Regulator Transition Office will take on G-20 recommendations as part of their mandate.”

The ICAC has long advocated the need for a national securities’ regulator and has participated actively in promoting the concept.   The organization – which represents Canadian investment management firms with over $700 billion of assets under administration – made a number of recommendations to the Expert Panel on Securities Regulation in 2008, among these, the need for the establishment of a federal regime.

“After suffering through a plethora of task forces and reviews on this important subject by the federal government, the provinces, industry groups and many registrants and issuers, we are finally closer than we have ever been to transitioning Canada’s regulatory system to a world class model” said Barb Lockhart, ICAC’s Chair.

The Association has long held the view that a federal securities agency, with a single set of rules and filings and one-stop approach to new and existing issuers and registrants alike, would positively assist in the cultivation of new business and stimulate Canada’s economy for the betterment of all.  “Canadians, regardless of what province or territory they reside in, would be able to access new share issues.  Currently, this may not be the case if a prospectus was not cleared through an individual province/territory,” noted Ms. Lockhart.  “Just as every Canadian should be entitled to certain standards in healthcare and public safety, they should have equal access to the securities markets regardless of where they live” Ms. Lockhart further commented.

The ICAC was pleased to see the appointment of Doug Hyndman as Chair and CEO of the Transition Office and known for his appreciation of local securities expertise.  “Strong leadership and a well thought out transition plan which recognizes the importance of regional expertise in branch offices across Canada is critical to the new Canadian regulator being effective.  Matters pertaining to oil and gas could tap into the skills of Western regional offices, while Eastern regional offices could deal with financial or manufacturing issues” Walmsley commented.

About ICAC

The Investment Counsel Association of Canada (ICAC) is the representative organization for investment counsel and portfolio managers in Canada.  Our members are from across Canada and are comprised of both large and small investment management firms managing Canadian’s pensions and retirement savings.   ICAC was established in 1952 and its current members are responsible for managing in excess of $700 billion of client assets.  The overall mission of the Association is to  advocate the highest standards of unbiased portfolio management in the interest of investors served by Members.  Member firms are only in the business of managing investments for clients in keeping with each client’s needs, objectives and risk.

Katie Walmsley,
Investment Counsel Association of Canada
Toronto, Ontario