In a letter to stakeholders last week, BC Deputy Minister of Finance, Lori Wanamaker, announced planned changes to the Financial Services regulator. Below, the content of the letter:
As you may be aware, the BC Government recently announced its intention to update the structure of the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) to make it an independent Crown agency. This new Crown agency will strengthen oversight of the financial services sector and better protect people's savings. You can view the information bulletin here:
The creation of a new Crown agency was initially proposed in a consultation paper released to the public in March of this year. That consultation paper also included a number of other proposed changes to the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) and Credit Union Incorporation Act
(CUIA). Those proposed changes relate to the Ministry of Finance's ongoing review of the FIA and CUIA. The review of the FIA and CUIA remains a priority for government and legislative changes are still being targeted for 2019. However, the review of the FIA and CUIA is separate and distinct from government's intent to establish a new Crown agency for the financial services sector in BC.
As noted in the information bulletin, government intends to introduce enabling legislation to transition FICOM to a Crown agency in spring 2019. The new agency will have responsibility for the regulation of mortgage brokers, insurance and trust companies, pensions and credit unions. It will be operationally independent, yet accountable to government, and funded by industry.
Government recognizes the important contribution that the financial services sector makes to the local economy. While BC's financial services sector is stable and strong, the structure of BC's financial services regulator has not kept pace with significant changes in industry practices and international standards.
The transition to update the structure ofFICOM to an independent Crown agency will take time so it is important to get that work underway as soon as possible, which is why Government has made this announcement now.
Ministry of Finance staff will continue to engage with and update the financial services sector, as appropriate, during this time of transition.
Lori Wanamaker, FCPA, FCA