On August 3, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) released a new strategic plan for 2012-2015. The plan sets out IIROC's strategic goals for the next few years, namely (i) promoting a culture of compliance; (ii) promoting the protection of the investing public; (iii) delivering effective and expert regulation; (iv) strengthening the fairness, integrity and competitiveness of the Canadian capital markets; (v) acting in an accountable, transparent and fair manner; (vi) being a cost-effective and efficient organization; and (vii) being an employer of choice.

Of particular interest, the plan provides information regarding the steps IIROC will take to promote a culture of compliance, including monitoring dealers' evolving service offerings, undertaking periodic industry-wide compliance audits and surveys (including to review compliance with best execution obligations and policies relating to management of conflicts in distribution of non-arm's length products), completing its plain language rule initiative and, with industry participation, conducting a review of underwriting due diligence standards. On the topic of strengthening the fairness and competitiveness of markets, IIROC intends, among other things, to address market structure issues by establishing a framework for electronic trading and updating surveillance alerts and enforcement approaches in the context of high frequency trading.