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.

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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.

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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.

 

 


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