New Brunswick’s new Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCSC) has begun operating, with that mega agency assuming regulatory authority over securities, insurance, pensions, consumer affairs, co-operatives, credit unions, caisses populaires, and loan and trust companies.
But aside from changes to the letterhead, it's unclear whether the new agency will have any impact.
“I don’t think this will have a major impact, it’s just a consolidation of offices," said Barry Dennis, planner and branch manager of Dennis Financial Inc in Fredericton."There may be some efficiencies, although that would be hard to see.
“I suspect the regulatory environment between the securities and life-insurance industries are probably not similar.”
The new body replaces the New Brunswick Securities Commission (NBSC) and Office of the Consumer Advocate for Insurance. In a CBC report last year, the NBSC came under fire for being among the worst provincial regulators when it came to enforcement. Of the $2.9 million in fines issued by the NBSC between 2007 and 2011, only 17% were collected.
“The problem with collecting these fines is that you can’t get blood from a stone,” said Dennis. “That’s not going to improve. A lot of people haven’t taken their responsibility seriously and they don’t consider the power a securities regulator should have; they just ignore.”
The formation of the new provincial regulator also comes as Ottawa continues its push for a single national regulator. An earlier attempt to create a single national regulator was thwarted when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2011 that Ottawa’s attempts infringed on some provincial constitutional responsibilities.
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