A smattering of provincial finance ministers gathered recently to announce that New Brunswick and Saskatchewan had joined Ontario and British Columbia in the quest to create a single Canadian securities regulator. The skeptics were quick to take issue. Where was the rest of the country?
So far Alberta and Quebec remain outside what is being called the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System, or CCMR. But the head of the Investment Industry Association of Canada, Ian Russell, harbours not one speck of doubt a single regulator will emerge in Canada in the coming year.
The powers that be are finally converging.
"The pressures, the argument, for staying out of this agreement are weak," says Russell. "The only argument, or reason to stay outside is that regional differences will be considered. But that concern is misplaced. The overriding principal of this has been to put the provinces at the centre. Embedded in this model is provincial control.”
The new CCMR, of course, will be overseen by a council of provincial ministers. "Alberta will have a veto on the council of ministers. Over time the provinces will have oversight. This is built into the system,” says Russell. As provinces realize that this is so, Russell is convinced those outside the system will see the light. “Investors will put pressure on provincial regulators. Small investors will see the advantages of being in the big system,” says Russell. “Within a year you will have most onside. We will get a critical mass.”