Whatever your “financial innovation” is, learn about the applicable legislation and your obligations before bringing it to market. That way, you will avoid penalties and other potentially costly consequences.
Do you have questions about the regulatory requirements that apply to your project? You’re not sure whether you need to register?
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Are you planning to launch an initial cryptocurrency offering (ICO)? Maybe you intend to participate in the marketing of a cryptocurrency.
You could be subject to laws administered by the AMF.
For guidance on the applicability of securities laws to cryptocurrency offerings, refer to:
Cryptocurrencies: exchange, purchase, sale
Do you want to offer the public a means of buying or selling currencies via an automated distributor without the intervention of a natural person?
If cash can be used to complete the transaction (received for the sale or paid for the purchase of cryptocurrencies), you will need to comply with the requirements of the Money-Services Businesses Act This link will open in a new window and file a licence application.
Do you wish to make an on-line platform available to the public for the exchange of cryptocurrencies?
If your platform is used to transfer money that is legal tender (e.g., CAD or USD) from one user of the platform to another in order to complete a transaction, you will need to comply with the requirements of the Money-Services Businesses Act This link will open in a new window and file a licence application.
The Money-Services Businesses Act This link will open in a new window governs the exchange of currency. However, as cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in Canada, buying and selling cryptocurrencies or exchanging one cryptocurrency for another is not considered currency exchange.
Nevertheless, if the users of your platform can contribute to their accounts in currency X (e.g., in CAD), buy cryptocurrencies, then resell them and demand payment in currency Y (e.g., in USD), you will need to apply for a licence to operate as a money-services business in the “Currency exchange” class.
Platforms that allow investors to exchange, buy and sell cryptocurrencies that are considered securities may represent a “market” within the meaning of the Securities Act This link will open in a new window. If they do, they have to obtain recognition or an exemption from the AMF. For more information, refer to CSA Staff Notice 46-307 - Cryptocurrency Offerings (pdf - 122 KB)This link will open in a new windowUpdated on 24 August 2017.
Equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending
Do you intend to operate an equity crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending platform?
You could be subject to laws administered by the AMF.
Here is some guidance:
- The AMF has implemented registration and prospectus exemptions that enable businesses to raise capital through crowdfunding, subject to certain conditions.
- In Québec, there is currently no specific legislative framework applicable to peer-to-peer lending platforms. However, such platforms may be subject to requirements under certain laws administered by the AMF, including the Securities Act.
- On-line funding platforms that act as a dealer or adviser are required to register with the AMF and meet the requirements set out in the regulation applicable to registrants.
- On-line funding platforms that distribute securities to investors must comply with the prospectus requirement or use a prospectus exemption.
On-line investment advice
Do you intend to operate an on-line investment advice platform such as a robo-adviser or an automated adviser?
Firms with business models that rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out transactions or make investment recommendations may need to register as securities advisers with the AMF.
For guidance on ways you can provide advice using an on-line platform while complying with regulatory requirements, consult CSA Staff Notice 31-342 Guidance for Portfolio Managers Regarding Online Advice (pdf - 82 KB)This link will open in a new windowUpdated on 24 September 2015Online Advice
Do you offer technological solutions (AI, blockchain technology, etc.) to individuals or firms subject to AMF oversight?
This does not necessarily exempt you from the requirement to register with the AMF. If the services you offer are a substitute for activities reserved for registered entities, you may have to register.
Do you want to offer a mobile payment solution, i.e., a means to transfer funds or pay invoices using a smart phone or other device?
The Money-Services Business Act This link will open in a new window governs funds transfers, which consist in moving cash funds from one location to another or from one person to another via a person, an entity or a network. If you offer such a service for remuneration (a per-transaction fee or a set amount, such as a subscription, giving consumers access to various services via the same mobile solution), you must apply for a licence to operate as a money-services business in the “Funds transfers” class.
Risk sharing platforms
Do you want to launch a platform offering consumers the possibility of sharing certain risks related to health, travel, events, cars, homes or job loss?
You could be subject to the regulatory framework applicable to insurers, including the Act respecting insurance This link will open in a new window.
We remind you that insurance is a regulated activity and that any person that markets an insurance product must hold a licence issued by the AMF.
Offering insurance products on-line
Do you want to make it possible to purchase an insurance product using technological tools? Are you thinking of setting up a comparison shopping website for insurance products or providers? You may need to register in accordance with the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services This link will open in a new window.
On-line claims adjustment services
Do you want to use technological tools to facilitate the settlement of claims? You may be required to register in accordance with the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services This link will open in a new window.
A claims adjuster is a person who, in damage insurance, investigates insured losses, appraises damages and negotiates the settlement of claims. In Québec, claims adjusters must hold a certificate issued by the AMF in order to legally pursue their activities.
On-line financial planning
Do you want to offer financial planning services over the Internet? You may need to register in accordance with the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services This link will open in a new window.
No person may use the title of financial planner or a similar title or purport to offer financial planning services without holding the appropriate certificate issued by the AMF or belonging to a professional order with which the AMF has entered into an agreement.
Find out more!
The AMF published the Regulation respecting Alternative Distribution Methods, which sets out the rules that apply as of June 13, 2019 to financial products and services offered via the Internet.”