Who We Are
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. It is entrusted with fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and with protecting investors.
The Securities Act (Alberta) is designed to ensure that Alberta’s capital market operates fairly and efficiently for participants and that investors have timely, accurate information on which to base investment decisions. It also ensures that those who sell securities in Alberta are registered and that they conduct themselves according to applicable laws and professional standards.
The ASC regulates all securities-related activity in Alberta, either directly or indirectly through self-regulatory organizations (SROs). To ensure SROs effectively conduct this regulation in a manner that meets our standards and fulfills our responsibilities, securities regulators conduct regular reviews of these organizations.
The ASC regulates the activities in Alberta of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA), the Natural Gas Exchange Inc. and the Alberta Watt Exchange Limited. Along with the British Columbia Securities Commission, the ASC oversees the operations of the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV).
Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints ASC Commission Members. Members determine policy, consider and approve new rules and recommend changes to the Securities Act (Alberta), the regulations made pursuant to the Act, and the Alberta Securities Commission Rules.
Members are also empowered to grant discretionary exemptions from the requirements of Alberta securities laws and to conduct hearings into matters that affect the public interest in Alberta’s capital market. In addition, the Members act as the ASC’s board of directors, overseeing the management of the ASC.
As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.
The Alberta capital market
The ASC takes pride in understanding Alberta’s vibrant and successful capital market that is both significant and unique in Canada. We have a strong connection with our Alberta market participants, and their needs and concerns. This understanding of Alberta’s unique business environment is critical to our role in providing a stable regulatory environment.
Alberta has the second largest capital market in Canada, representing 28 per cent of the Canadian capital market. Oil and gas companies represent 20 per cent of Canada’s capital market and Alberta-based companies have the highest average market capital in Canada by a wide margin, at $519 million. Oil and gas is by far the most significant industry in Alberta, with 40 per cent of Alberta-based public companies engaged in oil and gas, representing 71 per cent of the total market capital in the province.
How the ASC works
The ASC is an industry-funded statutorily created corporation and is unlike a business corporation in that it does not have shareholders to whom the board of directors report. Instead, while the ASC is not taxpayer funded, it is accountable to the Minister of Finance and Enterprise and, through the Minister, to the Alberta Legislature. As a public sector body the ASC complies with the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act. For operational purposes, the ASC is divided into two groups: ASC staff and Commission Members.
ASC staff are responsible for the daily operation of the ASC’s corporate affairs and are primarily overseen by the Executive Director, who is also the Chief Administrative Officer. Staff responsibilities include registering persons and companies operating in Alberta’s securities industry, reviewing prospectuses, considering exemption applications and taking enforcement action against persons and companies who have contravened securities laws.
Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints ASC Members, the number of which currently stands at 12. Among those Members are the Chair and one or more full-time Vice-Chairs. The Chair acts as the ASC’s Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for the overall operation of the ASC.
Collectively, ASC members act as the board of directors and are responsible for overseeing the management of the ASC, approving and amending Rules made under the Securities Act (Alberta) and adjudicating matters that affect the public interest in Alberta’s capital market.
What the ASC can and cannot do
The ASC is authorized to:
- impose fines known as “administrative penalties” of up to $1 million per contravention of the Securities Act (Alberta), freeze assets and ban from the market those who breach the Act;
- stop companies or individuals from trading securities during an investigation;
- stop the trading in securities of a company if it fails to fulfill its obligations under Alberta securities laws; and
- pursue offenders in the Provincial Court of Alberta as an agent of the Crown, with the power to seek jail terms of up to five years less a day and fines of up to $5 million per offence committed.
The ASC is not authorized to:
- get money back for investors;
- offer investment or legal advice; or
- comment on any aspect of an investigation.
How we are funded
The ASC is funded by the combination of revenues received under Alberta securities laws from market participants (e.g. fees) and its own investment income.
History of the ASC
|1955 - 1975:
||In 1955, the Alberta Securities Commission was established to protect the public in its investments. During this time period, the ASC reports to the Attorney General of Alberta.|
|1975 - 1992:
||The ASC reports to the Alberta Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.|
||Starting in June of this year, the ASC holds commission meetings on a biweekly basis, alternating between Edmonton and Calgary.|
||Alberta Legislative Assembly Bill 43 Alberta Securities Commission Reorganization Act requires that the ASC is to be restructured into two parts – the “Board” and the “Agency”.|
|1992 - 2001:
||The ASC reports to the Alberta Treasury.|
||Amendments to the Securities Act (Alberta) transformed the ASC from a government agency into an industry-funded provincial corporation. The changes also grant the ASC the ability to make rules and provides enhanced enforcement powers.|
|2001 - 2004:
||The ASC reports to the Alberta Minister of Revenue.|
||The ASC centralizes its operations in its Calgary office, resulting in the closure of the ASC Edmonton office.|
|2004 - 2012:
||In 2004, the departments of Finance and Revenue are merged into a single ministry. The ASC reported to the Alberta Ministry of Finance.|
|2012 – current:
||In 2012, the Ministries of Finance and the Treasury Board and Enterprise were consolidated. The ASC currently reports to the Alberta Ministry of Treasury Board and Finance.|
About the CSA
The ASC is a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). The CSA, the council of the securities regulators of Canada’s provinces and territories, co-ordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.
Visit the CSA's website