PCMA PRESENTS – 10:55 am
ONE ON ONE with The Regulators: How to build a better Private Capital Market, Registrant update.
Comparing the Ontario Securities Commission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission usually isn’t favourable to Canada’s largest securities regulator when it comes to case volume, punishment or process speed. The comparison isn’t entirely fair. After all, the two regulators operate under different legal frameworks, procedures and jurisdictions. Moreover, the comparison may be becoming irrelevant as the OSC over the past five years has been rebuilding its enforcement tool kit. It also has a new director of enforcement, Jeff Kehoe, a veteran lawyer — and amateur stunt pilot — with a deep background in market regulation, criminal prosecution and, as an added bonus, the private sector.
Kehoe’s skill set is unique and it’s the kind of mix that will be required in his demanding position, says Howard Wetston, chair of the regulator between 2010 and 2015 who, with former enforcement director Tom Atkinson, initiated many of the OSC’s new enforcement programs. “Modern financial systems rely on confidence to function properly,” Wetston says. “Investors need to know that securities regulators and regulations are in place to protect them and that the regulations will be enforced when broken.” The task of leading that effort, he adds, requires a spectrum of qualities: a good grounding in law, a nose for prosecutorial discretion and case selection, solid managerial skills and a deep understanding of the markets and its participants.
With Kehoe’s appointment in October 2016, the OSC has identified just such an individual. His enthusiasm for aerial acrobatics leaves no doubt about his nerve. His résumé proves the pedigree. Kehoe began his career as an assistant Crown attorney with the Ontario Ministry of Justice, where he worked on high-profile cases such as the 1994 Just Desserts murder in Toronto. That was followed by four years as senior litigation counsel for Justice Canada, where he gained international experience. In 2001, he joined the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (then known as the Investment Dealers Association of Canada) as director of enforcement litigation and as vice-president of enforcement. In addition to his regulatory experience, Kehoe also spent time in the private sector, working as general counsel for Difference Capital, the investment firm founded in 2012 by Henry Kneis and Michael Wekerle, who is perhaps best known — beyond Bay Street, at least — for his starring role on CBC’s Dragons’ Den.