The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) has released updated guidance to advisors, reminding investment firms that they can offer their clients the use of electronic signatures (“e-signatures”) for contracts and consent forms.
“IIROC recognizes the importance of facilitating innovation and is committed to providing guidance that makes it easier for firms and Canadian investors to make the best use of technology,” says Andrew Kriegler, IIROC’s president and CEO.
“IIROC’s principles-based rules are designed to give firms the flexibility to choose the form that a signature may take – be it by physically committing pen to paper or the convenience of using an e-signature.”
The guidance follows an extensive, multi-phased consultation to better understand how the wealth industry is evolving to meet investor needs and how regulation can reduce barriers to innovation.
During some of these consultations, investment firms said they needed clarity around when they can use e-signatures.
IIROC expects firms to have appropriate policies and procedures in place to meet signature requirements. Additionally, firms should not have different signature policies for transfers-in and transfers-out. “In a highly evolving digital landscape, it’s important for investors to not only have access to a broad range of investment advice and services; it’s equally important for them to have the convenience of e-signatures in a protected, regulated environment,” adds Kriegler.