Amid declining energy sector investment, regulators in Alberta are considering a range of ideas — from expanding exemptions and easing compliance burdens to facilitating early-stage investment funds — in an effort to help jumpstart the province’s capital markets.
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) published a consultation paper on Thursday that seeks feedback on ways to help boost market activity, particularly the province’s venture markets.
In the paper, the ASC noted that energy sector investment has declined in recent years, and that this has not been met by growth in other sectors.
“Alberta is attracting and retaining less than its proportionate share of both public venture capital and investments through private venture capital and angel investing,” it said.
While there’s an array of factors that account for these trends, the ASC is now looking for regulatory reforms that could facilitate market activity.
“We hope to elicit feedback on steps that we – as Alberta’s securities regulator – might take to enhance access to capital for Alberta businesses and enhance investment opportunities for investors while still ensuring appropriate investor protection,” it said.
The paper details some of its initial ideas, including expanding the accredited investor exemption; developing an exemption from dealer registration to facilitate small business financings; providing KYC and suitability exemptions for certain smaller financings; curbing compliance burdens on dealers that disproportionately impact smaller firms; facilitating angel investment funds and publicly traded retail funds to invest in early-stage businesses; and further facilitating peer-to-peer lending and crowdlending.
The consultation deadline is Sept. 20.