Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/8/2015 (2223 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Some form of a national securities regulator may be operational in a year from now, but Manitoba won't be part of it, and some industry players believe that's a mistake.
Recently, the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulator (CCMR) appointed its inaugural chairman and "renewed its invitation to the other governments to join the co-operative system."
But Manitoba's finance minister, Greg Dewar, made it clear he will not easily be swayed.
Yukon and five provinces, including Ontario and B.C., have signed the memorandum of understanding to form the co-operative that has been initiated by the federal Finance Department.
Enabling federal legislation is required and participating jurisdictions are releasing revised draft legislation, along with draft initial regulations, for public comment this summer.
The much-discussed -- and much delayed -- co-operative system is designed to streamline the capital markets regulatory framework for investors' protection and to foster more efficient capital markets.
Canada is the only member of the G20 nations that does not have a national securities regulator.
But the Selinger government continues to remain on the sidelines.
"In our discussions with Manitobans, they have made it clear they want Manitoba to continue to support the provincial regulation of securities," said Dewar.
A so-called passport system remains in place that allows provinces to effectively rubber-stamp a prospectus that has been approved in another province. Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger was part of the committee that came up with the passport system.
The new NDP government in Alberta has already sent out clear signals it will now consider joining, but Dewar said that's not the case in Manitoba.
"It is not on our radar," Dewar said bluntly.
Charlie Spiring, the past chairman of the Investment Industry Association of Canada and the Winnipeg-based vice-chairman and member of the executive committee of National Bank Financial Wealth Management, is concerned the Manitoba government has not taken a more pro-active approach.
"I think it is a massive mistake of our government to not join this," Spiring said. "It is going to handicap the capital markets around here."
But Dewar maintains a homegrown approach will better serve the industry in this province.
"We support this industry," he said. "They want Manitoba securities to be regulated here and not out-sourced to Toronto for example. They feel we understand their needs."
The issue of retaining jobs in the province has always been part of the argument to retain the provincial regulator, but the CCMR has made it clear it will have an office in each of the participating jurisdictions.
Spiring believes an opportunity is being missed. For instance, he said the concentration of mutual-fund-industry professionals in Winnipeg -- by virtue of the fact IGM, the largest mutual-fund company in the country, is based here, as is Great-West Life, which also has a very large mutual-fund operation -- could mean this city would be an ideal location to base the CCMR's mutual-fund regulatory staff.
Whether or not the CCMR would automatically hire the entire staff of the Manitoba Securities Commission is not clear.
As it stands, the MSC, a special operating agency of the province, is largely self-sufficient and according to Dewar and his staff, has a good relationship with the industry.
"All the feedback we get from the industry is they enjoy working with them," said Jim Hrichishen, Manitoba's deputy minister of finance. "They are very responsive and understand local business needs. They are doing the job that the stakeholders in business need from the regulator."
But Spiring, for one, believes with the increasing complexities of capital-markets transactions it may be asking too much for a small province such as Manitoba to be able to keep pace with all the latest innovations.
"If you look back at the 2008-09 cycle, our commissions were not ready for that," Spiring said. "None of them could figure out derivatives or probably still can't to the extent I would be comfortable with."
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.