The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), one of the thirteen provincial financial regulators in Canada, today unveiled a new fintech-focused hub called LaunchPad which aims to help guide FinTech startups through the complexities of the regulatory framework.
LaunchPad will be staffed by a dedicated team who will work directly with fintech companies to help them navigate, and even potentially tailor, Ontario’s securities laws while ensuring investors remain protected. The OSC says that given the size of the Ontario Securities Act and its regulations, there is a compliance burden. As such, LaunchPad aims to streamline disclosure requirements, eliminate duplication and improve the public offering process.
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The OSC will apply what it learns through the LaunchPad hub more broadly to modernize regulation for similar businesses. These include online advisory firms, peer-to-peer lending services, crowdfunding platforms and angel investor organizations.
With LaunchPad, OSC will provide direct support to eligible new and early-stage fintech businesses that provide innovative services, products and applications of benefit to investors. At the same time, Canada’s largest market watchdog indicates that it will also consider providing regulatory relief to startups so that they can experiment with novel products, services and business models, while also ensuring investor protection
The program has a dedicated website, which can be accessed through www.osclaunchpad.ca, and already accepting now requests for support from eligible fintech businesses.
Although arguably late to the race, OSC Launchpad has caught up by having its sandbox regime in a bid to follow pace with many jurisdictions that launched their own proposals for similar regulatory sandboxes. Such initiatives seek to create a safe space in which Fintech firms can test innovative products and services without immediately incurring all the normal regulatory consequences of engaging in such activity.
Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the OSC commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for Canadian innovators. With OSC LaunchPad, emerging fintech businesses now have an opportunity to work with securities law experts from day one. This initiative reflects the OSC’s commitment to regulation that is in step with innovation.”