Ontario’s regulators set their agendas

By James Langton | April 26, 2022 | Last updated on April 26, 2022
2 min read
confusing array of advisor titles
Gil Martinez

As the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) starts to regulate the use of the “financial advisor” and “financial planner” titles, Canada’s securities regulators are still considering policy action of their own in this area.

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published the final version of its annual statement of priorities on Tuesday, which sets its regulatory agenda for the year ahead. The regulator also published its response to the feedback generated by the draft priorities published in November.

In that response, the OSC indicated that it’s monitoring FSRA’s work on title regulation and advisor proficiency, but that this remains an issue for securities regulators too.

“As a first step, the [client focused reform (CFR)] requirements include provisions on misleading communications, which prohibits the use of titles that may reasonably be expected to deceive or mislead clients,” it noted.

Additionally, the OSC said that, along with the rest of the Canadian Securities Administrators, it “is conducting research and consulting with stakeholders regarding the client-facing titles used by registrants, to formulate recommendations for future consideration.”

The response also details the OSC’s stance on a variety of ongoing issues, including CFR compliance, client complaint handling and industry dispute resolution.

The final statement of priorities was also revised with a new priority to clarify how the OSC balances its various competing mandates.

The regulator also said it’s considering measures to provide more transparency on its progress on various priorities, and it pledged to enhance engagement with Indigenous communities.

“Our 2022-2023 priorities reflect a strong focus on initiatives that promote confidence in Ontario’s changing capital markets and that strive to make our regulatory framework responsive to financial innovation, and the needs of investors and market participants,” said Grant Vingoe, chair and CEO of the OSC, in a release.

“In all our work, delivering strong investor protection remains a top priority,” he added.

In his mandate letter to the OSC, Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy called on the commission to continue working to implement certain reform recommendations from the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce while also facilitating changes to the OSC’s governance structure and supporting innovation in the capital markets.

In his mandate letter to FSRA — which also published its plans on Tuesday — Bethlenfalvy called on the agency to  reduce regulatory burdens, implement title regulation, modernize the insurance framework, adopt a new, principles-based legislative framework for the credit union sector, and develop better approaches to regulatory oversight in the pension sector.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for Advisor.ca and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.