Sunday, December 10, 2023

Terence Corcoran: Canadian securities regulation —national and provincial — needs a total review and overhaul

Many experts in the arcane business of regulation appear to support the review. A survey of experts by Investment Executive magazine showed that many feel such a review is long overdue. In an interview Thursday, Canadian securities lawyer Phil Anisman warned that any Ontario review process could prove difficult. “An Ontario-only approach, whether for local issuers or not, necessarily has implications for the national regulator proposal. Ontario can’t do anything alone, if the so-called national co-operative regulator comes in.”

But a new review seems essential. Securities regulation is a bureaucratic swamp that will not easily be drained. Investor protection, corporate behaviour, corporate and individual malfeasance, market structures, fees and costs all seem to require tens of thousands of pages of legal micro-detail that keep thousands of lawyers and administration professionals fully employed.

The theory is that without regulation, market failure will destroy everything, although the accomplishments of regulatory control efforts are hard to quantify.

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