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COVID-19: Investment fund industry updates (March 19, 2020)

CSA Announces Additional COVID-19 Measures

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has announced additional regulatory measures to address the impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on market participants. The news release issued on Wednesday, March 18 provided high-level information about the following:

  • The CSA will provide temporary blanket relief for some regulatory filings required to be made on or before June 1, 2020. Specifically, investment funds will receive a 45-day extension to file financial statements, management reports of fund performance and annual information forms;
  • The CSA will publish guidance as soon as possible on making changes to annual general meetings, acknowledging some issuers’ interest in having virtual meetings;
  • All CSA proposals currently out for comment will have their comment periods extended by 45 days.

The CSA indicated that it will adapt its response as necessary as the COVID-19 situation evolves to ensure market participants have the guidance they need. For information about other CSA and OSC actions in response to COVID-19, please visit the OSC website. IFIC will continue to speak frequently to regulators to ensure industry issues are raised.

SRO COVID-19 Measures

Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada

  • Members will be asked to provide read-only system access to their systems to effectively complete compliance examinations and minimize the number of document requests.
  • At this time, postponing periodic visits required by Policy 2 and on-site branch reviews required by Policy 5 are reasonable measures for Members to implement.

Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada

  • IIROC recognizes that some level of regulatory flexibility may be required to enable its Members to best serve investors and maintain market stability. IIROC will work with
  • If Members are able to meet the requirements from backup sites or with staff working from home, IIROC has no objection as long as appropriate measures are in place for supervisory, confidentiality and other regulatory requirements.

IFIC Rapid Response Meeting

On Wednesday, March 18, IFIC hosted an Rapid Response Task Force meeting. Also included were members of IFIC’s Operations, Accounting Advisory, and Legal and Compliance Working Groups. The Task Force Chair led a discussion about the extreme market volatility. Participants noted that, while markets are sharply down, firms are coping and there were no issues with pricing feed reported. Firms noted that they were reviewing valuation policies related to illiquid securities as required. It was agreed that a separate call to discuss the potential impacts of negative interest rates will be held before the end of March.

IFIC intends to hold additional Rapid Response calls as required in the coming days.

TMX Update on Trading

On Wednesday, March 18, the TMX Group interim CEO issued a statement regarding continuation of trading on its markets: “TMX is working in close consultation and coordination with our clients, regulators and government representatives to fulfill our core mission in operating Canada’s markets…. We feel strongly that it is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders; including issuers, investors, and market participants, that the markets remain open. We pledge to continue working with all our partners to ensure that remains the case and will share any further updates as necessary.”

For the full statement, visit the TMX website.