(Adds interview with Cowan)
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Former TMX Group Ltd executive Kevan Cowan has been appointed chief regulator of a yet-to-be-created national securities regulator meant to unify the current patchwork of provincial entities, its implementation body said on Thursday.
The much-delayed cooperative system which currently includes British Columbia and Ontario, as well as the smaller regulators for Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Yukon plus the Canadian federal government, is expected to launch in 2018. Alberta and Quebec have both said they will not join the regulator.
“It’s a complicated project, there’s lots of work to be done, but we’re getting well under way,” Cowan, who starts on Monday as head of the transitional body, said in a phone interview.
“The top priority for me is to get out and start to work with the staff of each of the commissions that are coming into the CMRA (Capital Markets Regulatory Authority),” he said.
It is not clear where current heads of the various provincial regulators will fit into the new body, which said it will soon choose a “regionally diverse” executive team from among those regulators.
Cowan left TMX in 2015, soon after the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange brought in Lou Eccleston as chief executive officer, a role for which he was considered a candidate.
Sources had told Reuters in March that Cowan was consulting Nasdaq Inc on its move into Canada.
He declined to confirm or deny that report. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Chris Reese)