Alberta government moves to strengthen investor protection
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Alberta government moves to strengthen investor protection

The Alberta government is boosting protections for investors as part of a broader effort to streamline and harmonize securities regulators across Canada.

A bill tabled Monday by Finance Minister Joe Ceci will give the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association the same powers as the Alberta Securities Commission.

That means the two organizations may compel people to appear at hearings and to produce evidence during investigations. The organizations would also be immune from civil lawsuits while conducting the work.

Ceci said investors deserve to know that investment advisers are looking after their interests.

"There are a few bad apples who take advantage of those who invest with them," said Ceci.

The three main powers for effective enforcement are the ability to enforce fines in the courts, the ability to require co-operation with investigations and the immunity against malicious lawsuits, said Andrew Kriegler, the president and CEO of IIROC.

"The Alberta government has given us the toolkit we were looking for," said Kriegler.

IIROC has had the ability to enforce fines for years; the final two powers will be granted with the new legislation.

"If we look a little more broadly, there's much more that can be done to protect investors," said Wanda Morris, vice-president of advocacy at the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

A next step in the process could be making sure victims get restitution and regulating embedded fees, said Morris.

IIROC is a national self-regulatory organization of the securities industry and the MFDA is a self-regulatory organization for mutual fund dealers.

source : Calgary SUN
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