OSC proposes restrictions on use of DSCs

After sidestepping CSA’s outright ban, province puts forward rule that will limit circumstances in which option can be sold

OSC proposes restrictions on use of DSCs

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has proposed restrictions on the use of deferred sales charges (DSC) in the sale of mutual funds.

The province is the only one that did not agree to the Canadian Securities Administrators’ outright ban on the option, which is expected to take effect on June 1, 2022.

Instead, the OSC has published for comment a rule that will “address negative investor outcomes by limiting the circumstances in which mutual funds with the DSC option can be sold and by giving clients greater flexibility to redeem these investments without penalties”.

The proposal would prohibit the sale of mutual funds with the DSC option to clients who are aged 60 and over, or who have an investment time horizon that is shorter than the DSC schedule. The rule would also prohibit sales to clients who intend to use borrowed money to finance their purchase and would impose a $50,000 threshold for maximum account size. 

Further, the rule would shorten the maximum term of the DSC schedule to three years, compared to current industry practice where the maximum term can be up to seven years. Additionally, clients would be able to redeem 10 per cent of the value of their investment without redemption fees annually, on a cumulative basis.

An OSC statement said: “In financial hardship circumstances, such as involuntary loss of full-time employment, permanent disability and critical illness, clients could redeem their investment without paying redemption fees.

“The rule also proposes restrictions to prevent other investors in a fund from cross-subsidizing costs attributable to DSC investors, and to prevent dealers from collecting multiple upfront commissions on the same source of funds.”

Stakeholders are invited to submit comments in writing by May 21, 2020. The proposed rule and companion policy, along with a regulatory impact analysis and notice and request for comment, can be found on the OSC’s website.