The British Columbia government intends to create a new Crown agency to strengthen oversight of the financial services sector and better protect people’s savings.
The financial services sector has undergone significant shifts in recent years as technology and international standards have evolved. While industry practices have rapidly changed, B.C.’s regulatory structure has not, requiring changes to better protect people when they use the financial services sector.
The B.C. government intends to introduce enabling legislation in the spring of 2019 to update the structure of the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) to make it an independent Crown agency. The new agency will maintain responsibility for 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.
Establishing a new Crown agency will make sure people’s financial interests are protected by a modern, efficient and effective regulator. Creating this new Crown will:
- bring B.C. in line with international standards for financial regulators;
- improve the commission’s reporting structure to government; and
- help attract and retain the best talent in this competitive sector.
- The Financial Institutions Commission is a provincial regulatory agency.
- The current structure of FICOM was largely put in place in 1990, with the implementation of the Financial Institutions Act.
- Establishing FICOM as a Crown agency was a recommendation from a 2017 independent review of FICOM, as well as previously supported by B.C.’s auditor general.
- Establishing FICOM as a Crown will bring it in line with other regulators in B.C. such as the BC Securities Commission, Consumer Protection BC and WorkSafeBC.