Montréal – At the close of the second Rendez-vous with the AMF, held today in Montréal, the President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Jean St-Gelais, praised the high quality of the exchanges and discussions among the members of AMF senior management, guest specialists and some 500 persons representing the financial services industry.
Among the highlights of the event were the presence of Québec Minister of Finance Monique Jérôme-Forget and Ethiopis Tafara, Director of the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, who kicked off the day’s activities with an insightful speech on securities regulation from an international viewpoint.
“I am very satisfied with this event and encourage this type of meeting,” said Mr. St-Gelais. “The resounding success of our first two Rendez-vous and the feedback received from participants prompt us to pursue and enhance our dialogue with the industry, in particular through this kind of event,” he added.
According to Mr. St-Gelais, these meetings enable the AMF to take the pulse of the industry and better understand certain issues. “We must always keep in mind that our decisions have an impact on the growth of the financial sector. By enforcing the laws we administer, we expect to strike the necessary balance between a vigorous financial market framework that ensures optimal protection for investors and the implementation of measures that also further the development of Québec’s financial sector. This is what drives us at the AMF,” said Mr. St-Gelais.
Mr. St-Gelais reminded participants that it was impossible to turn a blind eye to the current debate surrounding the Canadian securities framework. He went on to mention the support of Québec Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget for the passport initiative involving the participating provinces and territories, which is based on harmonized regulations applicable across Canada, and her strong opposition to the proposed establishment of a single securities regulator.
For her part, the Minister of Finance began her conference lunch speech by reminding the audience that studies of international regulators showed that Canada ranked among the best countries in the world in terms of investor protection and quality securities regulation. The Minister also pointed out that the provinces and territories had already adopted different mechanisms to favour access to Canada’s capital markets. The passport system will facilitate that access even further: “As a result of these initiatives, the harmonization of securities laws in Canada, together with the tools and policies already in place across the country, will be so generalized as to enable the creation, in practice, of a truly national system,” said the Minister.
In addition, the Minister announced that Phase II of the passport system would be completed in 2008. “Over the next few months, I will be presenting various harmonization measures to the National Assembly; the other provinces will also be tabling measures. I hope that Ontario will change its position and move in line with the other provinces, as this would be in everyone’s interest. The passport system builds on the existing model and will eliminate duplication of administrative tasks as efficiently as a single regulator. The process will be faster and less costly and will be void of constitutional wrangling—something we can all do without,” she added.
Rendez-vous with the AMF is a one-day meeting held each year to give the AMF, Québec financial sector participants and prominent guest speakers the opportunity to exchange ideas on the issues and challenges facing the financial services industry and to discuss possible solutions to enhance investor protection in Québec. The topics covered at the second Rendez-vous with the AMF included corporate governance practices, banking-insurance services, and the myths surrounding the proposed establishment of a single securities commission in Canada.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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