OSC Proceeds with New Initiatives to Strengthen Enforcement
TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) announced today that its Staff is proceeding with four enforcement initiatives that were originally proposed in OSC Staff Notice 15-704 Request for Comments on Proposed Enforcement Initiatives, published on October 21, 2011:
- A new program to facilitate the settlement of appropriate enforcement cases in circumstances where the respondent does not make formal admissions respecting its misconduct (sometimes referred to as no-contest settlements);
- A new program for explicit no-enforcement action agreements;
- A clarified process for self-reporting under Staff's credit for cooperation program; and
- Enhanced public disclosure by Staff of credit granted to persons for their cooperation during enforcement investigations.
Information about the new enforcement initiatives, including eligibility criteria, is set out in OSC Staff Notice 15-702 Revised Credit for Cooperation Program.
"These new tools will help Staff strengthen the presence and effectiveness of the OSC's enforcement program to protect investors and promote public confidence in the capital markets," said Tom Atkinson, OSC Director of Enforcement. "The four initiatives will potentially allow us to resolve enforcement matters more quickly and issue more protective orders earlier. When heightened accountability from respondents is paramount, we will continue to seek admissions as part of any proposed settlement agreement."
The Commission has indicated to Staff that it is prepared to consider the approval of proposed settlement agreements where a respondent does not make formal admissions respecting its misconduct. Ultimately, any decision to accept or reject a proposed no-contest settlement would be made by a Commission hearing panel considering the particular circumstances. The Commission also supports Staff efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the OSC's enforcement activities by proceeding with the other initiatives related to the OSC's credit for cooperation and no-enforcement action agreements programs.
The new initiatives do not affect any of the Commission Rules of Procedure, including those dealing with the consideration and approval of settlement agreements by Commission hearing panels.
The Commission would like to thank the stakeholders who submitted comment letters to the OSC and/or made submissions at the public Commission hearing on the proposed initiatives, convened on June 17, 2013.
Staff is continuing to consider the introduction of a whistleblower program under which monetary incentives would be paid to persons who provide the OSC with actionable information about misconduct in the marketplace.
The OSC is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing Ontario's capital markets. The OSC administers and enforces Ontario's securities and commodity futures laws. Its mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets.
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