Education Centre

Recent Update – Changes in the Rules Governing Mortgage Syndication

by Gregory M. Colford, B.A., J.D., C.I.M.®

Last March the Canadian Securities Administrators released its Second Notice and Request for Comment in respect to the Proposed Amendments to the registration requirements, exemptions and ongoing registrant obligations relating to syndicated mortgages.

The March 2018 Proposal contemplated that the proposed amendments to the mortgage exemptions would have a staggered implementation with the amendment to the registration exemption coming into effect 12 months after the amendment to the prospectus exemption.

This has been changed. The Proposed Amendments will now come into effect on December 31, 2019. This caught mortgage syndicators by surprise – if they were not registered by then, then they are out of business!

Mortgage syndication has for many been a rather informal undertaking. The syndicator will have a deal in hand, call up a few known investors, chit-chat about the deal and have a signed syndicate agreement in hand by day’s end. Until July of last year, mortgage syndicators and their clients were saved the rather exhausting know your client/know your product (“KYC/KYP”) duties the rest of us in the investment community are required to undertake for the protection of investors. What is ordinary for dealers like Fundscraper and its clients, is often seen as intrusive and unnecessary by traditional mortgage syndicators and their clients. The regulatory landscape has changed for mortgage syndication and now syndicators have to catch up.

First FSRA (then known as “FSCO”) introduced the Form 3 disclosure regime for syndicating non-qualifying mortgages. The KYC protocol is rigorous and the syndicator is now on the hook for making critical suitability assessments they have never been trained to do. The OSC then stepped forward as the new overseer of the market and introduced under its offering memorandum exemption additional prescribed information syndicators have to provide if now relying on that exemption for their syndications. Syndicators, understandably, have had a bad year.

At Fundscraper we’re registered with FSCO as a mortgage brokerage and with the OSC as an EMD in the Province of Ontario (as well as British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Prince Edward Island). We have spent the last two and half years perfecting our online compliance procedures with the full expectation of the changes happening today in the mortgage syndication market. We discovered that by creating an interactive online environment we can greatly reduce the costs of compliance while delivering best-in-practice solutions. Once we qualify investors, we apply computer generated algorithms to their investment decisions to assess suitability of investment and flag common investment risks. A qualified investor can begin our process and complete a subscription within twenty minutes from their tablet and desktop and, soon, their phone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregory Colford
Gregory Colford

PRINCIPAL BROKER, EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT & CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER

Gregory Colford, JD, CIM, was a senior partner at Heenan Blaikie LLP, once one of Canada’s ten largest law firms. Over his 12 years at Heenan Blaikie LLP, he headed the Toronto Securities Department, the Corporate Services Department, the Precedent Committee, the Legal Opinion Precedent Committee, and was the Toronto representative on the firm’s Stock Trading Committee. Through the course of his practice, he brought many companies to the public capital markets and advised extensively on corporate governance, board integrity, and market compliance.  He was also the co-founder of Carlisle Capital Structures Corporation and helped the company grow to over $1 billion CAD in AUM of mortgage securities on behalf of a top tier Ontario pension fund.