The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has published its 2016 Annual Report (the Report), in which it outlines its mandate, vision, and 2015-2016 goals, as well as the steps it is taking to achieve them.

In the Report, the OSC describes its mandate as the provision of protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and fostering of fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in same. The OSC also outlines its vision to be an effective and responsive securities regulator, fostering a culture of integrity and compliance. Finally, its five central goals for 2015-2016 are stated as follows:

  1. Deliver strong investor protection
  2. Deliver responsive regulation 
  3. Deliver effective compliance, supervision and enforcement
  4. Promote financial stability through effective oversight
  5. Be an innovative, accountable and efficient organization

Of particular interest, the OSC reiterates concerns initially expressed in the Compliance and Registrant Regulation (CRR) Branch’s Annual Report regarding the challenges evolving technologies, online platforms and globalization pose to regulators, especially in effectively addressing these challenges while avoiding overregulation. As noted most recently in our July bulletin, firms looking to adopt an online platform must be cognizant of this increased regulatory scrutiny and proceed accordingly.

The Report also highlights important initiatives including the OSC’s mutual fund fee review, the introduction of derivatives rules and a review of the order protection rule framework. As well, the Report emphasizes the progress the OSC has made with more focused compliance reviews through its risk based approach.

The importance of strong investor protection is another central theme of the Report, with an emphasis on the protection of more vulnerable investors such as seniors, as well as the OSC’s ongoing analysis of the best interest standard.

We know you’re busy but we do recommend that you peruse this Report for better insight into the issues and expectations of Canada’s most influential regulator.