Topic: Legislation, rules and policies

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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Proposes “Best Interest” Standard for Retail Broker Dealers

On April 18, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced proposed rules that would require broker-dealers to act in the best interests of their retail clients when recommending investments. The SEC opened the proposed rules to a 90 day comment period. This announcement follows a March 15, 2018 decision by the U.S. Fifth … Continue reading

The OSC’s Jurisdiction on an Appeal from a Decision of a Director: Re Dhillon (2018) ONSEC 14

In Re Dhillon, the Director of Compliance and Registrant Regulation (“Director”) of the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC” or “Commission”) refused Dhillon’s application for registration under s. 27 of the Ontario Securities Act (the “Act”) on the ground that Dhillon lacked both the proficiency and integrity for registration, and that his registration would otherwise be objectionable … Continue reading

Supreme Court Holds Individuals Must Report to the SEC to Qualify as Whistleblowers under Dodd-Frank

On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split by unanimously holding that an employee must report suspected securities law violations to the SEC in order to qualify as a whistleblower entitled to protection from retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”).  Dodd Frank’s anti-retaliation … Continue reading

Ontario provides protection to “whistleblowers” against reprisals

In December 2017, Ontario instituted a civil cause of action for employees who experience reprisals from their employers for providing information or assisting in certain other ways in regulatory or criminal investigations or proceedings involving contraventions of securities or commodity futures laws (whistleblowing). The identical amendments to s. 121.5 of Ontario’s Securities Act and s. … Continue reading

Alberta Securities Commission Policy 15-601: Credit for Exemplary Cooperation in Enforcement Matters

In October 2017, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) released ASC Policy 15-601: Credit for Exemplary Cooperation in Enforcement Matters.  According to the ASC, Policy 15-601: … provides clarity and transparency regarding the circumstances under which ASC staff will consider exercising their discretion to grant credit to those individuals or entities that provide exemplary cooperation to … Continue reading

SEC action against hedge fund raises difficult questions for investment advisers

The SEC recently extracted a settlement from a hedge fund that raises difficult compliance-related questions for investment advisers. On August 21, 2017, Deerfield Management Company L.P. (“Deerfield”), a hedge fund and registered investment adviser, paid approximately $4.6 million to settle SEC charges that Deerfield failed to create and enforce policies and procedures reasonably designed to … Continue reading

Canadian Securities Regulators Announce Prohibition of Binary Options

Securities regulatory authorities for all Canadian jurisdictions, save for British Columbia, (the Participating Authorities) announced the implementation of Multilateral Instrument (the Instrument) and Companion Policy 91-102 on the Prohibition of Binary Options on September 28, 2017. Binary options are defined in the Instrument as a contract or instrument that provides for only a predetermined fixed … Continue reading

The OSC Explores the Elimination of Embedded Commissions

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) hosted a roundtable discussion on September 18, 2017 (the Roundtable Discussion) to help evaluate potential regulatory changes to discontinue embedded commissions in investment funds. The term “embedded commission” refers to the remuneration of dealers and their representatives for mutual fund sales through a commission paid by investment fund managers (for … Continue reading

BC Court of Appeal clarifies use of disgorgement remedy under the Securities Act

In Poonian v. British Columbia Securities Commission[1] the BC Court of Appeal recently found that the BC Securities Commission (BCSC) may, in limited circumstances, make orders pursuant to s. 161(1)(g) of the BC Securities Act (the Act)  holding persons jointly and severally liable for a disgorgement order where there is evidence showing control and direction … Continue reading

Investment advisors’ legal duties fall under the spotlight

In a decision released July 6, 2017- Shinoff v BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc et al.– Justice France Dulude of the Québec Superior Court provided helpful guidance on the duties owed by investment advisors to their clients.  The plaintiff claimed that the defendants had failed to provide investment advice that was appropriate for his financial objectives.  … Continue reading

Another Kick at the Canadian Effort to Create a National Securities Regulator

In a recent decision, a majority of the Quebec Court of Appeal held that the latest proposal to create a national securities regulator was unconstitutional. The Spectre of Federalism Unlike every other G-20 country, Canada does not have a national securities regulator. There is a long history of attempts to change this.  As early as 1935, the Royal … Continue reading

#needsimprovement: CSA releases report on social media disclosure practices by Canadian public companies

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), concerned by the increased prevalence of corporate disclosure through social media, have issued guidance for Canadian public companies. Their notice follows a review of the tweets, blogs, posts and videos of 111 public companies on various social media websites, as well as the companies’ own websites.  The three key areas … Continue reading

Only 61% of issuers address cyber security in their risk factor disclosure. Is your company one of them?

Earlier this year, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) released the results of a review of the disclosure of 240 issuers in the S&P/TSX composite index on cyber security issues.  The review found that only 61% of issuers addressed cyber security in their risk factor disclosure, 20% of these issuers had identified a person or group … Continue reading

Thinking Inside the Sandbox: CSA Supports Innovative Business Models

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) recently launched a regulatory sandbox initiative as part of a push to foster greater innovation among industry participants.  Under the initiative, qualifying businesses that have registered or received relief from certain requirements will be permitted to test novel products and services throughout the Canadian market. The CSA provided the following examples … Continue reading

“Substance over form” in defining a security

What constitutes a “security” under the Ontario Securities Act? In Ontario (Securities Commission) v Tiffin, 2016 ONCJ 543, the accused was charged with three offences under the Act for issuing a number of promissory notes while prohibited from trading in securities. Under the Act, security is defined to include “a bond, debenture, note or other … Continue reading
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