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Self-regulatory organization (SRO) reform, Ontario’s taskforce, and crypto regulation are all featured on the Investor Advisory Panel’s (IAP) busy agenda for the year ahead.

The IAP, an independent advisory group of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), published its annual report on Thursday, detailing its activities for the past year and spelling out its list of priorities for 2021.

Near the top of that list is the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) ongoing review of the framework for self-regulation.

Currently, the umbrella group of Canadian regulators is contemplating changes to the current SRO landscape, including possible consolidation of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA).

The CSA plans to announce its vision in the early summer.

The IAP stressed its view that this exercise should put improving investor outcomes on par with saving costs and reducing regulatory burdens.

In addition to the SRO review, the IAP will be keeping a close eye on the results of recommendations from the Ontario Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, which include a series of sweeping reform proposals.

In the latest provincial budget, the government endorsed one of the taskforce’s key proposals that would involve separating out the OSC’s administrative tribunal, among other structural changes at the commission.

The budget also indicated that the OSC will be reviewing many of the recommendations, which involve changes to regulation rather than legislation.

In its report, the IAP highlighted its opposition to one of the taskforce’s key proposals — that the regulator’s mandate be expanded to include fostering growth and encouraging competition.

“While the IAP supports fostering market competitiveness, we do not believe that mandating the OSC to promote market growth will complement the OSC’s existing responsibilities,” the panel said. “Indeed, such a mandate could potentially jeopardize or even undermine public trust in the OSC.”

The job of fostering growth should be left to issuers, the investment industry and government, the report said.

Alongside these key items, the IAP’s agenda for the year ahead also includes a range of retail investor protection issues, including the regulation of crypto trading, overseeing the ESG activities of industry firms, and a variety of issues connected with complaint-handling, dispute resolution, and investor restitution.