Organization

Montréal – At the conclusion of two forums on SME financing, hosted by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) on September 25 and 26 in Montréal, AMF President and Chief Executive Officer Jean St-Gelais had high praise for the event. “I was very pleased with the quality of the exchanges and discussions held over the past two days by guest experts in corporate financing, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers and business people,” said Mr. St-Gelais. “This dialogue among stakeholders seeking to identify solutions for facilitating SME access to capital in Québec, the rest of Canada and the Americas can only help our economies,” he added.

According to Mr. St-Gelais, these two days of discussions enabled the AMF and other securities regulators in the Americas to better understand the challenges and obstacles facing SMEs with respect to financing and growth, and will therefore help them tailor securities regulations to more effectively respond to their respective realities.

During the opening session of the Forum on Québec SMEs, Mr. St-Gelais emphasized the prominent role SMEs play in Québec’s economy. He reaffirmed his determination to ensure financial market regulation reflects corporate realities and reminded participants of the importance of expanding and promoting best corporate governance practices. “Consumers will increasingly factor the existence of solid corporate governance into their investment decisions,” he stated. “Maintaining high professional standards throughout operations will impact investor confidence and the implementation of good governance practices.”

During the opening session of the second edition of the SME Forum of the Council of Securities Regulators of the Americas (COSRA), Mr. St-Gelais gave an overview of the objectives of COSRA’s SME committee and the SME Forum. “By establishing a committee dedicated to small and mediumsize enterprises in 2003 to identify and discuss issues facing SMEs when raising capital, COSRA sought to initiate and promote reforms needed to improve conditions in various member jurisdictions,” he said. He noted how proud he was that Montréal and the AMF had been selected to host and organize this second edition of the event.

Mr. St-Gelais also reiterated his support for the COSRA initiative. “A forum such as this, which brings together stakeholders from the Americas who play a role in SME growth, is a tremendous asset for the industry. It gives local businesses a unique opportunity to interact with larger bodies that can have an impact on the international economy.”

In addition, Mr. St-Gelais expressed the pleasure he had in welcoming Roel Campos, former commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and former chair of COSRA’s SME committee, who acted as moderator for the forum workshops. In introducing Mr. Campos, Mr. StGelais noted he was a committed defender of the rights of investors and of sound corporate governance practices.

Mr. St-Gelais also highlighted the contribution made by various organizations to the success of the two forums, including the Société générale de financement du Québec and Ernst & Young as Major Partners, as well as the Fonds de solidarité (FTQ), the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), Investissement-Québec, and Lavery, de Billy as Associate Partners.

The Forum on Québec SMEs brought together entrepreneurs, researchers, industry professionals, and representatives of financing firms to discuss the obstacles facing Québec SMEs, the challenges before them and possible solutions.

The second COSRA SME Forum examined SME financing issues against the backdrop of globalization and international challenges. After the first edition last year, which was organized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and held in Miami, this year’s event was organized by the AMF, a COSRA member. It brought together about 15 panelists and guest speakers who shared their knowledge and encouraged participants to express their concerns and viewpoints.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.

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