Canada’s Investment Managers Applaud Move to National Securities Regulator

(May 26, 2010) – The Investment Counsel Association of Canada (“ICAC”), the voice of the country’s portfolio managers and investment counsellors, announced its strong support for the proposed Canadian Securities Act that was released today by the federal government.

“The creation of a national securities regulator will ultimately impact all Canadians in a very positive way,” said Katie Walmsley, ICAC President.  “The government’s proposal is an important milestone in the process to improve Canada’s ability to attract investment and protect investors.

“ The ICAC has for many years advocated the need for a national securities regulator and has actively participated in advancing the concept.   The organization – which represents investment management firms directing $700 billion of assets for Canadian investors – 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, the tabling of the Canadian Securities Act moves us one step closer to transitioning Canada’s regulatory system to a world-class model,” said Bob Hill, ICAC’s Chair.  “Just as every Canadian should be entitled to certain standards in healthcare and public safety, they should have equal access and protection when accessing our capital markets.”

Canada remains the only industrialized country without a single national regulator.   The current fragmented regulatory system is out of step with interconnected securities markets that transcend provincial and national boundaries.  According to the 2008 Survey of Canada by The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “the current diversity of regulations– for example, each province has its own securities regulator–makes it difficult to maximise efficiency, and increases the risk that firms will choose to issue securities in other countries. A single regulator would eliminate the inefficiencies created by the limited enforcement authority of individual provincial agencies.”

The ICAC has long held the view that a Canadian securities regulator would:

  • Strengthen the financial system;
  • Provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices;
  • Establish simplified, consistent national standards for complaint handling;
  • Provide faster policy responses to emerging trends;
  • Provide consistency for businesses that operate in different provinces across Canada;
  • Reduce inefficiencies and duplication inherent in operating 13 regulatory structures.

While Canada’s financial regime has been recognized as a generally sound model, in the wake of the global financial crisis gaps have been revealed in our regulatory framework. A national securities regulator will enable the country to achieve better integration and consistency of regulatory efforts while also building on  the positive reputation of Canada’s financial markets. .  ICAC joins with the institutional and retail investors, market participants, academics and international agencies that have each indicated support for the establishment of a national securities regulator.

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.

For further information contact:

Katie Walmsley, President
Investment Counsel Association of Canada
Toronto, Ontario