Canada’s Investment Managers Urge Government to Move Forward with Single Securities Regulator Recommended by Hockin Report

TORONTO – (January 13, 2009) – The Investment Counsel Association of Canada (“ICAC”), the voice of the country’s portfolio managers and investment counsellors, today urged the federal and provincial governments to move forward “with a sense of urgency” on the proposals recommended by the Expert Panel on Securities Regulation.

“Canadian investors cannot wait any longer for the creation of a single national regulator,” said Katie Walmsley, ICAC President.  “We have been in a constitutional quagmire on this issue for decades and we believe the ‘opt-in’ approach recommended by the Hockin Report is the only way this is going to move forward. We urge swift action.”

Added Walmsley: “If there is a silver lining in this economic downturn it may be that it has created a sense of urgency to improve capital market protection and enforcement and our belief is this can happen through a single regulator.  The opt-in solution that has  been endorsed in the Hockin Report would provide national consistency in regulation, enhanced enforcement, lower regulatory costs – and could still address regional sensitivities.

The ICAC has long advocated the need for a national securities’ regulator and has participated actively in promoting the concept. In its July submission to the Expert Panel on Securities Regulation, the ICAC supported the creation of a separate national regulatory system that would enable securities issuers and registrants to be registered with and subject to the jurisdiction of a federal regulator.  Such a system would then exclude provincial jurisdiction over those participants who opt-in. The ICAC believes a federal regulatory system with a provincial opt-in would overcome perpetual political  and legal wrangling that has left investors at risk.

While the organization – which represents Canadian investment management firms with over $700 billion of assets under administration – would prefer to see a national regulator created as a result of federal/provincial collaboration, it feels the country  can no longer wait for governments to solve their differences.

“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, I believe the release of the Hockin Report at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty is Canada’s opportunity to finally move forward in establishing a single market regulator,” said Barb Lockhart, ICAC’s Chair and SVP Finance and Administration of McLean Budden Ltd.  “Canada cannot remain out of step with the rest of the world as the only industrialized country that is part of the International Organization  of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) that does not have a single regulator.  This is a time to be working together internationally and to do this we need to be unified locally.  While we recognize there will be political resistance to the recommendations of the Hockin report, the benefits far outweigh the costs.”

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 over $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.

For further information contact:

Katie Walmsley,
Investment Counsel Association of Canada
Toronto, Ontario