PMAC’s mission statement is “advancing standards”; we are consistently supportive of measures that improve standards for the benefit of investors (the clients of asset managers).
PMAC has been supportive of proposals that provide assurances to individuals that their privacy is protected, that their data will not be misused, and that companies will communicate privacy matters in a simple and straightforward manner. If Ontario adopts a new private sector privacy law, it must be harmonized with other laws (provincial and federal) and be interoperable to support innovation and ensure similar privacy protections for Ontarians.
Clients choose to invest their assets with portfolio managers for several reasons, including the fact that clients delegate the responsibility for asset management to PMs on a discretionary basis. This means that PMs do not check in with their investors for every transaction they make in a client’s account. Rather, PMs have the authority to act on the client’s behalf – and must do so in their best interests. Ensuring broad access to discretionary investment management through a wide variety of portfolio manager business models – including on-line and traditional – is beneficial to Canadians and to the Canadian economy. As is further discussed below, privacy laws must be sufficiently flexible and harmonized to ensure that PMs are able to carry out their responsibilities to clients without undue restrictions, such as the need to frequently obtain client consent.
National Instrument 31-103 – Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations (NI 31-103), the primary regulation that governs the conduct of our members, specifically includes client information-gathering and document retention provisions. Asset managers already have robust privacy programs in place and provide information to clients with respect to information that is collected and the purposes for which the information is used.
Before providing our comments and recommendations on the proposals, we would like to thank the Minister for producing and publishing the white paper, which we found to be well written and easy to understand. It was tremendously helpful in providing additional context and rationale for the proposals and facilitated discussion among our members.
Read the full submission here