Ontario Securities Commission releases strategic plan to create modern regulator

TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission is forging ahead with plans to become a more efficient and modern securities regulator as the idea of creating a national body to oversee financial markets remains on hold.

The OSC said Wednesday its new plan will help it adapt to today’s complex global capital market place through updates that will create a modern, accountable and efficient securities regulator.

The OSC faces a number of new challenges as the global financial system becomes more interconnected – a phenomenon that accelerated the impact of the 2008 market downturn.

Those include cross-border investigations, oversight of credit rating agencies and hedge funds and the regulation of emerging market participants. It also is working to implement a number of new requirements implemented by the G20 in the wake of the financial crisis.

Advocates of a national securities regulator – which would bring all of the 13 disparate provincial and territorial regulators under one organization – say only a single, cohesive body can properly regulate in this evolving environment.

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The move to improve the Ontario regulator comes after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal government’s proposed legislation for creating a national regulator late last year.

“The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision on the national securities regulator now means the OSC will refocus on continuing to meet its mandate by working in the best interests of the investors and market participants of Ontario,” Howard Wetston, chairman and CEO of the OSC, said in the regulator’s report.

The plan is the result of a strategic review launched in 2011, in which the regulator heard input from a number of stakeholders, including investors and other market participants.

“The OSC Strategic Plan is our road map for working in the best interests of the investors and market participants of Ontario and for making the regulatory system more efficient,” said Wetston.

“The OSC will take a more strategic approach to fulfilling its mandate while supporting a high-quality, innovative and growing financial services industry in Ontario.”

The plan focuses on six key initiatives, which include establishing an Office of the Investor to engage investors more efficiently.

It will also set up a research and analysis group to better identify and respond to market and investor concerns and emerging risk committee to improve risk identification and management.

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An internal policy co-ordination committee will help communicate its policy goals with those of other provincial and territorial regulators.

Implementation of the three-year plan begins this year and will be completed in phases.

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