Over the past year, Canadians across the country have continued to experience significant disruption and change to their everyday lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, the MFDA has remained laser focused on its core mission – to deliver on its public interest mandate to protect Canadian investors.
The pandemic has amplified the need to preserve investors’ confidence in Canada’s capital markets and for a modern regulatory system that accommodates innovation and change. These have remained issues of central importance to the MFDA this past year and was brought to the forefront by the CSA Consultation on the Self-Regulatory Framework. Beginning with the publication of the MFDA Special Report on Securities Industry Self-Regulation in early 2020, and throughout the CSA SRO review, the MFDA’s position on how to best achieve these goals has remained consistent – Canada needs a new single forward looking SRO, established through a CSA-led process, that is public interest focused and capable of regulating all advisory firms.
Our commitment throughout the CSA SRO review has been to actively participate in the process by providing the CSA with assistance, commentary and support through extensive research and policy analysis. For example, on the issue of public confidence in Canada’s self-regulatory framework the MFDA commissioned an independent national poll of Canadian investors regarding their views on this topic. The poll found that Canadians support transformative and forward looking change and in particular, that a significant majority of Canadian investors think that enhanced CSA involvement in SRO governance would bolster public confidence. On the topic of access to advice, the MFDA published its Client Research Report which demonstrates, among other things, the important role that MFDA Members and advisors play in providing access to personal advice for millions of middle- and working-class Canadians. And further assistance was provided through the MFDA Roadmap for the Design and Implementation of a New Modern SRO, which was provided to the CSA for its consideration. The Roadmap sets out a flexible and adaptable design and implementation process for establishing a new SRO with a clear public interest focus through a CSA-led process and provides a path forward for its establishment, as well as estimated timelines for completion. All of this material was made available to the public in order to contribute to the open discourse among all stakeholders regarding Canada’s future self-regulatory framework.
The CSA SRO Consultation concluded this past year and after an in-depth review of the current framework, the CSA announced its plan to create a new single enhanced SRO. This new SRO, which will include current members of both the MFDA and IIROC, will have a clear public interest focus and an enhanced governance and accountability framework, and will ultimately provide enhanced regulation of the investment industry. Additionally, the CSA has stated that it will consider inclusion of current non-SRO registrants during the second phase of the new SRO implementation process. This bold decision truly exemplifies the transformative and forward looking change that Canadians told us they were looking for in our polling research and will benefit Canada by strengthening public confidence in the regulatory system.
“Our commitment throughout the CSA SRO review has been to actively participate in the process by providing the CSA with assistance, commentary and support through extensive research and policy analysis.”
I am proud of the meaningful contributions the MFDA has made through its research and policy analysis to the broader conversation surrounding the CSA’s SRO review - a conversation which I believe has greatly benefited all Canadians and helped to inform the CSA in coming to its decision. I would like to reiterate that the CSA’s decision is fully supported by the MFDA and represents an exciting opportunity to reshape Canada’s regulatory landscape. The MFDA looks forward to working together with the CSA, IIROC, the Investor Protection Funds and other relevant stakeholders on implementing the CSA’s vision for a new single enhanced SRO.
In closing, I would like to thank the MFDA’s Board of Directors, MFDA staff and all of our other stakeholders for what we have accomplished together during the past year. Our collective efforts have undoubtedly benefited both investors and Canada’s capital markets and will continue to be instrumental in shaping its future.
Mark T. Gordon, LL.B.
President & Chief Executive Officer