Former TSX Markets and TSX Venture Exchange president Kevan Cowan has been selected by the Board of the Capital Markets Authority Implementation Organization (CMAIO) to be the initial Chief Regulator of the Capital Markets Regulatory Authority (CMRA) and also CEO of the CMRA’s Regulatory Division.
The CRMA will basically consolidate six existing securities acts, along with newly created policies and regulations, into one.
The CMAIO was incorporated on behalf of the Participating Jurisdictions (British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Canada) in July 2015 as an interim body, the purpose of which is to assist in the transition to and implementation of the CMRA.
Cowan will assume the role of CMAIO CEO on November 21, 2016, pending the creation of the CMRA and his formal appointment as Chief Regulator.
“I’m so pleased to be in a position that will engage my passion to enhance capital markets, which has been the hallmark of my career,” says Mr. Cowan. “It’s an exciting opportunity for me to apply my knowledge and experience to help build our vision of a cooperative and highly effective capital markets regulator.”
In his role at the TSX, Cowan oversaw the introduction of TSX Ignite in March 2014, a national program dedicated to the growth and development of Canadian companies, with a primary focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.
“Kevan’s appointment is a significant milestone for this initiative,” says CMRA Board Chair Bill Black. “We’re delighted to welcome him as the Chief Regulator, given his depth of knowledge and expertise. In particular, his venture capital work while based in Western Canada, for companies across the country, combined with his experience on a national level, gives him a broad understanding of Canada’s capital markets, including small and medium-sized businesses. Additionally, his successful operational and strategic leadership skills, along with his evident enthusiasm and commitment to this project, prepare him to be an outstanding leader for the CMRA.”
The CMRA unveiled its initial Board of Directors in July 2016, led by Black, and also announced a timeline for enacting a provincial-territorial Capital Markets Act, along with its complementary federal Capital Markets Stability Act, by June 30, 2018.
The CMAIO will shortly select a regionally diverse executive management team from the regulatory organizations of the Participating Jurisdictions.
Quebec and Alberta have already indicated that they will not be joining the regulator, with Quebec saying at the end of 2015 that it still intends a court challenge of the proposed regime, despite a message on the Authority’s website which reads, “The participating jurisdictions are inviting the governments of other provinces and territories to join the Cooperative System.”
Documentation relating to establishing the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System dates back to September 2013, following a 2011 Supreme Court verdict ruling that the Securities Act drafted by the previous federal government is valid under the general branch of federal power to regulate trade and commerce under the Constitution.
The governments of Canada, Ontario and British Columbia made clear early in 2014, in the wake of the 2011 Supreme Court verdict, that they would work to get the national regulator functioning by mid-2015.
But a draft put forward by the federal government was eventually released in August 2015, followed by a 120 day comment period, during which concerns were raised by the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, among others.