Canada's OSC promises change, gives few details

Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:30pm EST
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By Jennifer Kwan

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main regulator outlined a three-year plan to boost its ability to monitor a changing market on Wednesday, but provided few details on precisely what it would do differently and how the new regulatory regime would work.

Observers welcomed the Ontario Securities Commission's new focus on investors, along with its promise to respond more quickly as the market changes. But the "proof will be in the pudding," said Joe Groia, a Toronto-based securities lawyer.

"I'm not too interested in what they say they're going to do. I'm always much more interest in assessing what they are doing," he said.

"This is talking about what their intentions are. I think a regulatory agency like the OSC is judged much more by its actions than these kinds of statements of policy or principles of the future."

The OSC is the main regulator in Canada, although it works alongside other provincial regulators in a patchwork system that has often been criticized for reacting too slowly and doing too little to respond to investor and market concerns.

It said its new plan would strengthen its oversight capabilities, and enable it to better understand the concerns of investors with a new Office of the Investor to engage the public.

The commission will also develop a report on its own performance to promote transparency and accountability and create a new committee looking at risks as they emerge.

"The OSC Strategic Plan is our road map for working in the best interests of the investors and market participants of Ontario and for making the regulatory system more efficient," said the OSC's Chair Howard Wetston in a statement.   Continued...