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CIRO (Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization)

Canadian financial oversight framework evolves at a fast pace, reacting quickly to technological innovations. The country's regulator stands firmly as a protector of retail traders' interests, but as you will see below, that comes at a price to the very same traders.

Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO)Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) overwatches the investment and trading industry and enforces rules that protect market participants' best interests in Canada. It is a self-regulating organization. The CIRO was created from the merger of two predecessor organizations — the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) in 2023. Before that, the investment industry regulation in Canada traced its history back to 1916. The CIRO acts under recognition orders from the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA).

Responsibilities

The CIRO has the following responsibilities in connection to its regulatory role in Canada:

  • Create rules that enable high industry standards.
  • Supervise investment advisors to ensure investor's security from unethical behavior and malpractice.
  • Review registered firms to check proper capitalization.
  • Monitor companies to confirm that proper risk management, account handling, KYC and AML procedures are in place.
  • Analyze trading firms' trade-desk procedures for compliance.
  • Investigate potential misconduct by market participants and exercise disciplinary proceedings.

Who should register?

The CIRO regulates all Canadian companies and individuals professionally engaged in the investment industry and mutual funds:

  • Integrated companies (national firms engaged in proprietary trading, retail and institutional business, corporate finance, and research activities)
  • Retail (mainly servicing individual retail clients)
  • Introducing brokers (serving retail clients)
  • Managed accounts
  • Order-execution only (formerly known as discount brokers) — this is the category Canadian retail Forex brokers work under.
  • Institutional investment companies
  • Corporate finance companies (mostly engaged in distribution of securities and research)
  • Alternative Trading Systems (ATS)
  • Proprietary trading firms
  • Mutual funds dealers

Registration and compliance requirements

Forex brokers that wish to operate with retail traders in Canada have to fulfill the following conditions to get licensed by the CIRO:

  • The company must be based in Canada.
  • The application fee is C$25,000 (C$10,000 of which is non-refundable). Annual fee is no less than C$22,500 but depends on the dealer's revenue.
  • The minimum required capital is C$250,000.
  • The applicant must keep a well-organized system of books and records according to the accounting and audit standards.
  • A broker should be properly insured. In case of a broker's bankruptcy, all traders' accounts are compensated up to C$1 million.
  • A company is to have proper supervisory procedures in place to deal with its customers.
  • A five-year business plan should be presented upon application to the CIRO.
  • All executives, partners, and directors should be properly qualified and experienced; they have to attend a special course and pass an examination.
  • The highest Forex leverage allowed in Canada is 1:50 (for USD/CAD; the maximum leverage is lower for other currency pairs).
  • A regulated company must display on its website a 'regulated by' membership logo provided by the CIRO.

Powers at CIRO’s disposal

The powers of the CIRO when it comes to enforcement of its rules and general laws are as follows:

Conclusion

The CIRO is at the head of a very complex regulatory system that spans multiple supervising bodies and state agencies. Its strictness is well-known to Canadian Forex traders, but the same strictness also appears to be limiting the options that retail traders can choose from when they decide to open an account. A similar situation is typical for the USA (CFTC and NFA) and Israel (ISA).

If you want to share your opinion, observations, conclusions, or to ask a question regarding the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO), feel free to start a discussion on our Forex forum.

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