Market integrity and investor protection: The BCSC’s role

I’ve worked at the BC Securities Commission for nearly five years, and I often find myself explaining to people who we are and what we do. In my experience, people who don’t invest, or count themselves as investors, don’t spend a lot of time thinking about securities regulation or investment fraud.

This is fair. Securities regulation can be difficult to understand, and fraud is something people don’t usually consider until it happens to them or someone they know.

That said, if you’re interested in how companies raise money in BC economy, the size and scope of our capital markets, or how you can help others avoid investment fraud, you may want to read two speeches our chair, Brenda Leong, gave recently.

In her speech to the Hong Kong Business Association, Leong spoke about the BCSC’s role in regulating the province’s capital markets. She also talked about how the commission is working to make the province a good place for investment and investors.

Her speech begins with some interesting and revealing stats about BC’s capital markets. For example, did you know that Vancouver, not Toronto or Calgary, has the most head offices of publicly traded companies in Canada?

She goes on to talk about the role of the BCSC in creating reputable capital markets, where investors only have to worry about the legitimate business risks facing a company. This includes a number of initiatives that require a combination of sound regulatory policy, active compliance and enforcement work, and proactive investor education.

“Simply put,” she says. “Our goal is to provide the best balance between investor protection and market efficiency.”

In her second speech to the Vancouver branch of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Leong discusses in detail what the BCSC is doing to protect investors.

She starts by explaining how the Internet is tailor-made for those who use fraudulent investments to steal people’s money. She then goes on to talk about how the BCSC is combating fraud, both on the Internet and on the ground.

Leong presents the audience with a number of case studies that provide interesting insights into how investigators and examiners work. The examples illustrate how important it is for the public and financial institutions to be our eyes and ears on the ground.

Throughout the speech, she illustrates how the BCSC uses both old and new tools to discover and take action against people who engage in market misconduct.

Together, both speeches paint a good picture of what we do. They are available to the public on our corporate website. Here are the links.

BC’s Capital Markets: A Major Engine of Growth for Canada’s Economy, Brenda Leong’s speech to the Hong Kong Business Association

Securities Fraud: New Threats from an Old Foe, Brenda Leong’s speech to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Vancouver Branch