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This article was published 14/5/2016 (347 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE head of the Investment Industry Association of Canada is hoping the new premier in Manitoba will be more enthusiastic about helping create a national securities regulator than his predecessor.
Ian Russell, president and CEO of the association, believes a single voice for both investors and capital markets would be a marked improvement over the current "fractured" regulatory regime in which each province and territory has its own commission.
"I would be hopeful he’d support the concept. We did have a conversation with him when he was leader of the Opposition two years ago. Greg Selinger was an opponent from the beginning," Russell said.
Five provinces have already come out in favour of a national regulator — Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Russell believes the benefits from a co-operative regulator would be better, more efficient regulations resulting from greater accountability, one set of rules and greater regional influence due to the voting structure.
"What we need isn’t more or less regulation but more efficient regulation," he said.
The provinces that can make a difference in terms of expanding critical mass for a national regulator are Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec, he said.
"Manitoba now has a Tory government with a business-oriented premier who is familiar with the (concept)," Russell said.
A spokeswoman for Premier Brian Pallister said the new government will be giving "due consideration" to the issue.
"While we have not ruled out any options, this issue is still under review, and it would therefore be inappropriate to speculate," she said.
Ken Cooper, former president of the long-defunct Winnipeg Stock Exchange, is in favour of a national securities regulator.
"The provincial securities commissions end up being pretty local in their thinking in drafting regulations," he said.
The challenge is making sure a national body doesn’t end up being controlled by the Ontario Securities Commission due to its sheer size, he said.
"The hard part is how you delegate locally without having somebody on Bay Street make decisions (for other provinces) and say, ‘This deal is so small, who cares?’" he said.
The idea of a national regulator was first floated by former finance minister Jim Flaherty in 2007.
He tried to get the provinces to support and participate in the idea without much success. Advisory committees were subsequently set up across the country to try to address regional concerns, the biggest of which was giving up their jurisdiction.
Three years ago, the federal government came forward with a proposal that respected a Supreme Court of Canada decision from 2012 that said responsibility for day-to-day securities regulation should be with the provinces.
That was enough to get Ontario and B.C. to agree to get on board.
"We can have a co-operative regulator where all of the provinces have a say," Russell said.