US OFR studies high-frequency trading. The US Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research published “Tick Size Constraints, High-Frequency Trading, and Liquidity,” which analyzes the effect nanosecond trading has on the financial system. (5/5/2015) OFR press release.

US bill would treat municipal securities as high-quality assets. US Congressional Representatives Luke Messer and Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation that would require US banking regulators to include municipal bonds under the Liquidity Coverage Ratio, which requires banks to maintain a minimum amount of liquid assets. (5/4/2015) Messer press release.

CSA guidance for proxy advisory firms. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) adopted National Policy 25-201 “Guidance for Proxy Advisory Firms.” The policy provides guidance on recommended practices and disclosure for proxy advisory firms to promote transparency in the services they provide to clients and to foster an understanding among market participants about proxy advisory activities. The guidance addresses the identification, management and mitigation of actual or potential conflicts of interest; the transparency and accuracy of vote recommendations; the development of proxy voting guidelines; and communications matters. (4/30/2015) CSA press release.

US Labor Department proposes fiduciary standard rules. The US Labor Department proposed rules requiring retirement advisors to put their clients’ best interests first. Comments should be submitted by July 6, 2015. (4/14/2015) Labor Department press release. 

OSC reports on fixed income markets. The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) published “The Canadian Fixed Income Market Report” and “OSC Staff Notice 21-708 - OSC Staff Report on the Canadian Fixed Income Market and Next Steps to Enhance Regulation and Transparency of Fixed Income Markets.” These materials summarize the OSC’s study of the fixed income markets and set out the steps that the OSC will take to enhance the transparency and regulation of fixed income markets. (4/23/2015) OSC press release.

OSC adopts registration exemptions for certain US brokers and advisers. The OSC published proposed OSC Rule 32-505, “Conditional Exemption from Registration for United States Broker-Dealers and Advisers Servicing US Clients from Ontario.” The proposed rule, which has been published on an expedited basis, provides exemptions from the relevant dealer and adviser registration requirements under the Securities Act (Ontario), subject to certain conditions, for US broker-dealers and advisers that are trading to, with, or on behalf of, clients that are resident in the USA. (4/23/2015) OSC staff notice. 

CSA proposes expansion of passport system. The CSA proposed the expansion of the passport system to include applications to cease to be a reporting issuer and cease trade orders resulting from the failure to file continuous disclosure documents. The CSA has developed two proposed interface policies: National Policy 11-206 “Process for Cease to be a Reporting Issuer Applications” and National Policy 11-207 “Failure-to-File Cease Trade Orders and Revocations under Passport.” These policies streamline the processes for those wanting to end their status as a reporting issuer or wish to revoke a failure-to-file cease trade order in both passport jurisdictions and Ontario. Comments should be submitted by June 15, 2015. (4/16/2015) CSA press release. 

OSC roundtable discussion on proposed whistleblower program. The OSC announced it will hold a roundtable on June 9, 2015 to further explore the issues raised in OSC Staff Consultation Paper 15-401, which proposed a new whistleblower program to encourage the reporting of serious misconduct of Ontario securities law to the OSC. (4/14/2015) OSC press release.