Today, change is everywhere. Technology has become pervasive - an inescapable part of our personal and professional lives and a dynamic force for change in society. Constant change is the new normal. At the same time, and has been noted by others, while things have never been this fast, they will never be slow again.
Few industries know this better than financial services.
We’re now in a market where insurance companies offer a number of investment products. Defined contribution pension plans can look like an RRSP account. Defined benefit pension plans merge, transfer assets and grow in members; credit unions sell insurance and offer investment advice. Technology drives auto insurance into a new age with behaviour tracking devices, vehicle ownership giving way to on-demand mobility solutions, driverless vehicles inching closer to reality and so much more. New financial products and services hit the market constantly, but too many can be held back by regulations.
The new Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is empowered, responsive and open to change to help achieve better outcomes for industry and the public. As a regulator and manager of the province’s eco-system of financial services, we are empowered to see the public treated fairly and transparently while reducing red-tape and burden on industry.
We want everyone winning in a competitive market, while ‘smartly’ regulated to achieve better outcomes. It’s called ‘principles-based regulation’ – we’re responsive to changes in the marketplace, while ensuring safety, fairness and choice.
FSRA inherited 1,100 pieces of guidance and we’re paring them back significantly by eliminating, combining and refreshing the regulations. Where paper was the norm, electronic streamlining of forms and processes will be the standard. We’re listening to learn and work with our sectors.
Still, questions abound. Are the age-old distinctions between personal auto insurance and commercial insurance relevant? How do we ensure all company pension assets held in trust are managed under fiduciary standards expected in Ontario? What about innovative, new products and services coming to market daily? What tests should apply and how quickly should regulatory approval be given?
We want to encourage behaviour change. Our principles-based approach should lead to industry players policing and self-governing to maintain the high standards we want to promote and Ontarians should expect. The burden reduction and regulatory effectiveness, complete with checks and balances, will aid business and serve the public with secure pensions, credit union deposits and innovative products and services at competitive prices.
FSRA will regulate with respect, transparency and collaboration and will focus its efforts based on the risks to stakeholders and consumers.