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No payoff from $600,000-plus B.C. Securities Commission bonuses

Executives were paid retention bonuses on premise of major regulatory change that never happened.
BCSC chair CEO Brenda Leong received $139,120 on top of her base salary of $434,748
Over $600,000 in so-called retention bonuses paid to BC Securities Commission (BCSC) executives in 2018 have turned out to be for naught after efforts to create a national regulator have been turfed.

The bonuses to several executives were made in the 2017-18 financial year. They were portrayed as a means to retain the executives while the Capital Markets Authority Implementation Organization (CMAIO) was in the midst of developing legislation to create a national securities regulator, then known as the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory (CCMR) system

BCSC chair CEO Brenda Leong received $139,120 on top of her base salary of $434,748 while then vice-chair Nigel Cave got a $104,640 bonus on top of his $327,000 salary.

Glacier Media asked the commission if the bonuses would be repaid.

“The payments were conditional on the individuals continuing to work at the commission for a specified period of time during the transition, not on the condition that the Capital Markets Regulatory Authority would be created,” stated spokesperson Brian Kladko. “Having fulfilled that condition, there is no basis to request that those payments be repaid.”

No other provinces reported such bonuses, however.

The CMAIO has been fraught with problems, most notably matters around provincial jurisdiction and acceptance.

The constitutionality of a national securities regulator was challenged by the Quebec government, but in November 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled otherwise. Nevertheless, Quebec and Alberta continued to oppose the idea.

The CCMR would have created standard legislation for securities, as like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

But on March 31, the CMAIO board “paused” further work on the plan.

“CMAIO is implementing an orderly pause of its operations and has taken steps to preserve knowledge, assets and work product,” CMAIO stated. “CMAIO’s work can be resumed at a future time when there is greater certainty around Cooperative System launch timelines.

“CMAIO continues to strongly support the establishment of the Cooperative System and encourages the participating governments to move ahead with the Cooperative System, which will provide significant benefits for Canada.”

Two days after this statement, Quebec’s Finance Minister Eric Gerard said he welcomed the decision.

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