Montreal – As the COVID-19 pandemic causes continued uncertainty in the economy and the capital markets, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has been working to protect and educate investors.
“We understand this is a very difficult time for many Canadians who depend on their investments to meet their current and future financial needs,” said Louis Morisset, CSA and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) . “The CSA is committed to protecting investors during COVID-19 through enforcement, education and policy.”
Since the pandemic emerged, the CSA and its members have seen an increase in potentially fraudulent investment schemes. These schemes often appear legitimate because they refer to current news, medical reports and social and political developments. The CSA urges investors to exercise caution with investment solicitations that involve COVID-19.
In response to the impacts of the pandemic, CSA investor focused efforts include:
- Helping investors identify investment fraud and stay up-to-date on the latest regulatory developments, through the new COVID-19 Information Hub on the
CSA website as well as investor-focused social media campaigns and advertisements.
- Continuing to coordinate efforts to protect and support investors with local law enforcement agencies, other regulatory bodies in Canada, international securities regulators and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
- Participating in the NASAA COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force.
- Implementing key investor-focused policy initiatives, including the Client Focused Reforms. While interim project timelines have changed, final implementation will follow original timelines.
- Continuing work on a proposed regulatory framework to enhance protection of older and vulnerable clients.
The CSA encourages investors to review their financial goals in light of changing circumstances, understand the fees and charges that they pay and consider seeking advice from a registered adviser. These discussions should be an ongoing feature of the client-adviser relationship, but are critical to an investor’s well-being during uncertain economic times.
The CSA also encourages investors suffering from financial hardship to talk with their registered firms and advisers about relief options. Investors may also wish to inquire whether fees can be waived on the basis of financial hardship, including Deferred Sales Charges (DSCs).
When considering any new investment, carefully research the opportunity and ensure you read the required disclosure materials. The CSA’s website has resources to help you navigate key disclosure documents, such as FundFacts and ETFFacts.
OBSI is also available to investors . OBSI resolves disputes between investment firms and their clients if they can’t solve them on their own. The CSA is renewing its focus on strengthening OBSI as an independent dispute resolution service, in order to secure fair, efficient and conclusive redress for investor losses where warranted. If OBSI finds that a firm has acted unfairly, made an error or given bad advice, and a client lost money as a result, it can recommend that a firm compensate the client. Residents of Québec can also bring related complaints to the AMF .
The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, co-ordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.