Category Archives: Venture funding Best Practices

Keynote speech OSC Dialogue Conference

Norton Rose Fulbright | Walied Soliman | Nov 23, 2020

Walied Soliman - Keynote speech OSC Dialogue ConferenceThe following is an abridged version of a keynote speech given by Walied Soliman, Canadian Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and Chair of the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, at the OSC Dialogue Conference on November 4, 2020.

Whenever I speak about the capital markets, I like to reflect on the incredible privilege we have of being practitioners and stakeholders in this area. In just over 100 years, Ontario has developed what is widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated capital markets regulatory frameworks in the world. Ontario was five years ahead of the federal government in the United States in regulating the capital markets in an organized manner.

We were ahead. We cannot fall behind.

It was with this backdrop that Premier Doug Ford and Minister Rod Phillips had the vision to form the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, reporting to the Minister of Finance, to conduct a broad review of the state of our capital markets in Ontario and determine what we can do to modernize the regulatory framework and ensure that we continue to be global leaders.

See:  Big Changes In Financial Regulation: Dialogue With The OSC 2020

That vision was focused on ensuring that we are a safe and secure capital market for people saving for their retirement and equally a market that efficiently marries capital with opportunity. This latter objective is critical: it is how we create new head offices in Ontario, how we ensure that our capital markets contribute to wealth creation and, most importantly, how we create new jobs in this province.

Select parts of speech

  • An alarming and recurring theme in the comments we received was the belief that there has been a decline of new issuers, new initial public offerings and new reverse take-overs in Ontario.
  • We heard from numerous stakeholders that in order to incubate the next Canadian issuer success story, we need to increase the number of independent intermediaries whose focus is on marrying capital with junior opportunities. We heard that the number of active independent dealers has fallen – largely, in the view of many stakeholders, due to a business model where independent dealers were losing out to bank-owned dealers with commercial lending capabilities.
  • We heard from retail investor advocates on the importance of ensuring that wealth management distribution channels allow easy access to competitive and independent wealth management products. It is clear that the OSC’s Client Focused Reforms are going to have a significant impact on the contents of the retail shelf.
  • We have also recommended enhanced powers for the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments.
  • Every Taskforce member is in favour of a national regulator. Clearly, this must be the goal. Our national reality poses challenges to achieving that goal. Our federation is complex both geographically and culturally, with varying capital markets objectives across the country. The political will needed to accomplish the goal of a national regulator does not currently exist.
  • [Before] whether setting up a dealer or a registrant, there was a clear path in the market for a business plan to succeed. Today, there are structural barriers to the business plans of new entrants. When combined with high entry costs, these structural barriers have a significant impact.

See:  OSC unveils charter for office to promote innovation and reduce regulatory burden

What comes next?

We continue to actively engage with stakeholders and are working diligently with the Ministry of Finance and the OSC on developing our final recommendations. We anticipate delivering to the Minister a final report sometime in December. From there, the Minister of Finance and the government will review our final report and work to advance the recommendations that they choose to accept as government policy.

 

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Keynote speech OSC Dialogue Conference The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Big Changes In Financial Regulation: Dialogue With The OSC 2020

Lenczner Slaght | Shara N. Roy and Isabel Dávila Pereira | Nov 12, 2020

OSC dialogue event - Big Changes In Financial Regulation: Dialogue With The OSC 2020On November 4, 2020, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) held its annual OSC Dialogue. Financial industry leaders, senior regulators and investors came together virtually to discuss changes in the industry and how they are working together.

This year, the current COVID-19 global pandemic informed both the virtual setting for and the theme of the OSC Dialogue. The main theme of the discussion was the link between the world's physical and financial health brought forth by the pandemic. The OSC Dialogue was divided into five sessions, and in spite of the different topics and perspectives, one key issue was at the forefront of the discussion: the role of the OSC in fostering economic growth, adapting to technological innovation, and incorporating principles of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG).

The Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce and the Expansion of the OSC's Role

In February of this year, the Ontario government established the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, which is in charge of making recommendations to the Minister of Finance for the review and modernization of the province's capital markets regulations. Walied Soliman, Taskforce Chair and Canadian Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright, provided an update on the work of the Taskforce. He noted that the Taskforce's recommendations will focus on three pillars: (1) proper governance, (2) an expanded mandate for the OSC, and (3) harmonized regulation.

See: 

Ontario capital markets task force proposes big changes

Ontario’s Capital Markets Modernization Task force report draws criticism

One of the key discussions across the OSC Dialogue focused on the second of these pillars. In several panels, which included a conversation with former OSC chairs, a discussion about the role of regulation in rebuilding the economy, an update from the Ontario Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce and a discussion on fostering innovation, the participants discussed the proposed expansion of the OSC's mandate to include the fostering of capital formation and the protection of competition. This proposal, as pointed out by Soliman, is part of the Taskforce's recommendations and will be delivered to the provincial government in December in its final report.

The Taskforce's justification for this and other recommendations highlighted by Soliman is that, “Capital markets regulation is not an end to itself”; a phrase he repeated during his presentation, and a sentiment which aligns with the current Ontario government's view on regulation.

“Capital markets regulation is not an end to itself”

Walied Soliman, Taskforce Chair and Canadian Chair of Norton Rose Fulbright

Soliman stated that such regulation must respond to the social and public good it is meant to support and the economic well-being of the province. He pointed out that the inclusion and making of this recommendation was not a difficult decision to reach by the members and that it follows advances already occurring in other places, including changes made in the UK, Singapore and Australia, where regulators have mandates to promote economic growth and competition, allowing them to remove obstacles including fees and tackle anti-competitive behaviour.

However, not every panelist agreed with the Taskforce's easy adoption of this recommendation. On an earlier panel where several former OSC chairs discussed perspectives, Maureen Jensen, the previous OSC Chair until April of this year, had a word of caution for this proposed mandate expansion. Jensen warned that it can be very difficult to be both the regulator and a partner in fostering businesses, as it can affect the OSC's independence in subsequent regulatory and enforcement actions. She added that the OSC's current mandate already allows it to promote a fair and efficient market which allows the regulator to encourage innovation but without standing in the way by partnering in the innovation. Howard Wetston, Senator and former Chair of the OSC, agreed with Jensen's caution but noted that capital formation has always been a key role of the OSC and that what is needed in any case is more transparency in the OSC role.

See:  NCFA Response to the Modernizing Ontario’s Capital Markets Consultation Taskforce

Other recommendations that the Taskforce update revealed include an increase of OSC oversight over self-regulatory organizations (SROs). While Soliman recognized the importance of SROs in filling the gap left by the lack of a national securities regulator, he noted that their recommendation would be for the OSC and Minister of Finance to collaborate to ensure business plans and regulations align with public policy, avoid duplication of regulation, and ensure that all capital markets are rowing in the same direction. This recommendation follows policy discussion around the combination of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association

Finally, Soliman made a call to the public to continue to engage with the Taskforce. In spite of the Taskforce's public consultation period ending in September of this year, he pointed out that stakeholders can still reach out to the Committee.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Big Changes In Financial Regulation: Dialogue With The OSC 2020 The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Alberta and Saskatchewan securities regulators seek comment on proposed new exemption designed to facilitate access to capital

ASC | Denise Weeres | Nov 20, 2020

female investor - Alberta and Saskatchewan securities regulators seek comment on proposed new exemption designed to facilitate access to capital

Calgary – The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) and the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) are seeking input on a proposed new prospectus exemption designed to provide greater access to capital for Alberta and Saskatchewan businesses and broaden investment opportunities for Alberta and Saskatchewan investors.

“As our provinces are dealing with the economic impact of the pandemic, we are looking for new ways to better facilitate access to capital, while still protecting investors,” said Roger Sobotkiewicz, Chair and CEO of the FCAA. “Efforts are being taken to adapt our existing industries and diversify our economies. By innovating as regulators we can help support the growth of the innovation economy,” added Stan Magidson, Chair and CEO of the ASC.”

 

The proposed new self-certified investor prospectus exemption would allow investment by investors who certify to having certain financial and investing experience and education, and acknowledge certain investment considerations and risks. To reduce the risks to investors, investments would be limited in a 12-month period to $10,000 in any one business and $30,000 across multiple businesses.

See: 

ASC Updates Raising Capital for Small Businesses Resource: Fostering Alberta’s New Economy

ASC adopts Start-up Crowdfunding Blanket Order

Sep 22, 2019: NCFA Response to ASC Consultation Paper 11-701: Energizing Alberta’s Capital Market

 

Details of the proposal are set out in CSA Multilateral Notice 45-327 Proposed Prospectus Exemption for Self-Certified Investors available on the websites of the ASC and the FCAA. The comment period for the proposed new prospectus exemption is open until December 23, 2020.

The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, co-ordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.

View release:  here

Comments are to be submitted by Dec 23, 2020

View the Self-Certified Investor prospectus exemption --> here

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Alberta and Saskatchewan securities regulators seek comment on proposed new exemption designed to facilitate access to capital The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Luge Capital Canadian InsurTech Report & Event

Luge Capital | Gisele Karekezi | Nov 18, 2020

BookMockUp Luge 1200x628 002 - Luge Capital Canadian InsurTech Report & Event

Luge Capital just released our Status of the Canadian InsurTech Landscape report today. It is an in-depth analysis of InsurTech technology trends, startup activities, venture funding as well as Luge’s perspective on future innovation and investment opportunities in the Canadian insurance industry.

You can check out the report HERE.

Luge Insurtech Image Social 1200x628 R04 002 - Luge Capital Canadian InsurTech Report & Event

We are also hosting a webinar event to dig deeper into InsurTech investment trends and future opportunities with speakers from Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Anthemis Group, Manulife Capital Ventures and Eos Venture Partners on December 1st, 4pm ET.

We would love to have you join us. Register

 

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Luge Capital Canadian InsurTech Report & Event The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Capitalism must be saved by capitalists, argue these pioneering ESG investors

Fortune |Katherine Dunn | Nov 15, 2020

Rise of citizen capital - Capitalism must be saved by capitalists, argue these pioneering ESG investorsWhen Michael O’Leary and Warren Valdmanis first met at Bain Capital’s offices in Asia, both were more or less conventional members of the finance profession. And yet, years later, they would become the coauthors of a book arguing that American-style capitalism—including a “meatheaded” obsession with short-term profits—is doing dire damage. Our economic system, they argue, urgently needs a reboot.

In their recent book, Accountable: The Rise of Citizen Capitalism, they argue that Adam Smith–style invisible hand capitalism is ineffective—and out of date—and that companies need to reorient themselves to serve more than just shareholders (which, by the way, they don’t think are being served particularly well, either).

See:  Fintech Fridays EP45: Mission-driven and Consumer-centric Financial Services

Both authors, who were on the founding team behind Bain’s first social impact investing fund under former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, spoke to Fortune about the rise of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, the divestment moveme

nt (and whether it actually works), the Business Roundtable’s pledge to end shareholder primacy, and where companies—and investors—can be the most effective.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

You talk a lot in the book about the skepticism or the outright cynicism regular people—but especially people in the investment world—have toward ESG and socially responsible investing. Was that the place that you guys started from?

Valdmanis: I admit that I was skeptical. I was schooled in this Adam Smith invisible hand idea, that if you just go about your business of creating more valuable companies and creating shareholder value, that’s going to have knock-on effects that are positive for the world. So I didn’t feel this need to add a social adjective in front of it. But I swiftly realized a couple of things through the effort with Governor Patrick.

“You have an economy where the buck is passed around and around and around until, poof, it disappears.”  Michael o’Leary, coauthor of accountable

The first is that the invisible hand [idea] is a really attractive one, but it doesn’t always work that way. I think, frankly, even Adam Smith, if you read his work closely, you realize that he didn’t even intend the way it’s currently understood and used. But furthermore, I also realized, there is enormous potential at the intersection of the social and the commercial. I think that we have this meatheaded short-term-ism in our economy that prevents even businesses from realizing what’s in their long-term best interests sometimes.

See:  OECD Report Outlines Challenges Facing ESG Investing

O’Leary: I don’t think we recognized going in how that generational difference really shows up in a lot of people’s fundamental views around capitalism. You look at the portion of millennials and Gen Z who approve of capitalism or have a favorable view of capitalism, that’s fallen from two-thirds in 2010, to just about half today. And I think millennials just approach these questions with a different view. You ask folks, “Is sustainability or ESG important to investing?” And nine out of 10 millennials will say, “Yes, of course you should be thinking about environmental and social issues in your investment portfolio.” And 40% of baby boomers, maybe less, will agree. And so I think you approach the question from a slightly different angle—I think with less skepticism—when you’re of a younger generation.

“I think that we have this meatheaded short-term-ism in our economy that prevents even businesses from realizing what’s in their long-term best interests sometimes.”  warren valdmanis, coauthor of Accountable

I was struck in the book how you talk about what you call this “rational hypocrisy” that companies have to deal with.

O’Leary: If you’re a CEO today, you’ve got demands from shareholders to maximize profits; you’ve got demands from all of your stakeholders to do good things for people. And when you’re faced with these conflicting demands, it’s much easier to fake good works than it is to fake good returns. So as a result, they exhibit a sort of rational hypocrisy, where they say different things to different audiences. The best evidence of this would be all the companies out there that issue two different annual reports: a 10-K and then a corporate social responsibility report, or a sustainability report, for all their stakeholders. And oftentimes, there’s no relationship between the two.

Video:  Purpose-driven finance (Chris Skinner at FFCON20)

I look at the crisis of trust we have in our economy where three-quarters of people don’t trust Big Business; people don’t trust corporate executives. So you roll back the clock to last December, before the pandemic hit. And in some ways it’s so easy when you’re in the 11th year of an economic boom for CEOs to say, “No, we’re good for shareholders; we’re good for stakeholders; we’re good for workers; we’re good for everyone.” The opportunity that the pandemic gave business leaders is in times of crisis—that’s when they can actually show what they meant in their commitments. And they can show that when they said their workers are the most important thing about their business…Prove it.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Capitalism must be saved by capitalists, argue these pioneering ESG investors The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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SEC Chair Clayton to exit, giving Biden early chance to name key regulator

Politico | Kellie Mejdrich | Nov 16, 2020

Jay clayton stepping down from SEC chair - SEC Chair Clayton to exit, giving Biden early chance to name key regulatorUnder the SEC’s rules, it is up to the president to appoint an interim chair when the commission chair leaves

SEC Chair Jay Clayton plans to leave the commission at the end of the year, departing from the market regulator about six months before his term is up, the agency announced Monday morning.

Clayton's departure will be among the first of what will be a wave of exits from the Trump administration as Joe Biden is sworn in as the new president. Under the SEC’s rules, it is up to the president to appoint an interim leader when the commission chair leaves.

“Working alongside the incredibly talented and driven women and men of the SEC has been the highlight of my career,” Clayton, an independent who was sworn in on May 4, 2017, for a five-year term, said in a statement.

See:

SEC chair: perhaps all stocks could become blockchain tokens

Statement on Modernization of the Accredited Investor Definition

SEC Votes to Approve Changes to Regulation Crowdfunding Increasing the Maximum Raise to $5 Million


The announcement did not say where Clayton is headed next. But his departure was expected after he told the House Financial Services Committee this summer that he wanted to return to New York. That was shortly after President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate him to be U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

That appointment never happened, as Geoffrey Berman, then-U.S. attorney for the Southern District, refused to step down. The political flap was resolved when Berman was replaced by his deputy.

Clayton came to the SEC after more than two decades working at the Wall Street powerhouse firm Sullivan & Cromwell, representing banks such as Goldman Sachs. During his tenure at the regulator, he was criticized by Democrats for taking a light touch on enforcement and for expanding U.S. capital markets to include broader allowances for private offerings and proposing to dramatically cut down disclosures for many hedge funds.

Clayton also drew fire from Democrats for his approach to implementing a call in the landmark Dodd-Frank law to heighten an investment advice standard to avoid conflicts of interest among broker-dealers. Detractors said it did not apply the highest fiduciary standard of care that is followed by registered investment advisers.

See:  Why a Biden win could be good for fintech

Despite the criticism of his time at the market regulator, the total of 3,152 enforcement cases brought under Clayton's chairmanship was actually higher than that of former SEC Chair Mary Jo White — a onetime federal prosecutor and appointee of President Barack Obama — during her tenure from 2013 to 2017.

Clayton also guided the SEC as it stepped into major legal fights during an unprecedented era of celebrity venture capitalist activity. The agency sued Elon Musk over tweets about taking his electric car maker Tesla private, and went after Elizabeth Holmes's blood testing company, Theranos. Both cases resulted in tough consequences for the executives, though some critics said the penalties involved were not harsh enough.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - SEC Chair Clayton to exit, giving Biden early chance to name key regulator The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Book Launch (Nov 17, 2020): The Technological Revolution in Financial Services: How Banks, Fintechs, and Customers Win Together

Michael King | Nov 16, 2020

Tech Revolution in Financial Services book cover - Book Launch (Nov 17, 2020):  The Technological Revolution in Financial Services: How Banks, Fintechs, and Customers Win Together

The financial services industry is being transformed by heightened regulation, technological disruption, and changing demographics. These structural forces have lowered barriers to entry, increasing competition from within and outside the industry, in the form of entrepreneurial fintech start-ups to large, non-financial technology-based companies.

The Technological Revolution in Financial Services is an invaluable resource for those eager to understand the evolving financial industry. This edited volume outlines the strategic implications for financial services firms in North America, Europe, and other advanced economies. The most successful banks, insurance companies, and asset managers will partner with financial technology companies to provide a better and more innovative experience services to retail customers and small businesses. Ultimately this technological revolution will benefit customers and lead to a more open and inclusive financial system.

Book Launch Webinar

Nov 17, 2020 03:00 PM

Free to register --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Book Launch (Nov 17, 2020):  The Technological Revolution in Financial Services: How Banks, Fintechs, and Customers Win Together The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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