Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa has announced plans to introduce legislation that would let self-regulatory organizations file decisions with the court. The announcement was met with approval by non-profit group CARP, which has campaigned along with IIROC and Prosper Canada to improve protections for investors.
According to a statement from CARP, Sousa’s announcement gives self-regulatory organizations such as the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada
(IIROC) and the Mutual Funds Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) to collect fines from individuals they’ve issued punishments to.
Previously, IIROC was able to levy fines and sanctions on individuals employed by their member firms, but it did not have the legal authority to make them pay. As a result, CARP said, almost $20,000,000 in unpaid fines to IIROC has accumulated over nearly ten years. The fines collection rate for Ontario is said to be around 12%, while provinces where fine collection is enforced are nearly three times as successful.
“There is more to be done, but today’s announcement is a critical first step,” said CARP Vice President for Advocacy and COO Wanda Morris. “[I]nvestors will be further protected when funds are collected and invested in increased monitoring and expanded investor education.”
The lack of teeth among self-regulatory groups, particularly with regards to fine collection, has been a key concern in CARP’s investor protection platform. The non-profit said it has been pushing the Ontario Finance Ministry to act on behalf of investors for the past year.
“We applaud the Ontario Government and the Minister of Finance for their leadership in sending this important message: if you harm investors in this province you will be held accountable for your actions and pay the penalty,” said IIROC president and CEO Andrew Kriegler.
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