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Financial Institutions Regulatory

Canada’s evolving financial services regulatory landscape is becoming more and more complex. Our Financial Institutions Regulatory team will guide you through regulatory changes and complicated requirements to ensure you can capitalize on new opportunities and avoid compliance threats.

The stakes for non-compliance are continuing to grow for Canada’s financial services sector, bringing costly repercussions for regulatory and transactional missteps. Regulators are increasing scrutiny, leading to higher reputational and penalty risk, while sector innovation is creating additional challenges, as service providers are tasked with fitting new offerings into legacy regulatory frameworks. Successfully navigating the changing landscape requires legal counsel who thoroughly understand participants’ needs and the sector’s complicated regulatory requirements.

Whether you are a new entrant to Canada’s financial services market or are a financial institution with a long track record in Canada, our team will guide you through the complicated Canadian federal and provincial financial regulatory system, helping you stay competitive and compliant as you achieve your business goals.

Why McCarthy Tétrault

Widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading legal advisors to financial institutions and participants in Canada’s financial system, we bring clarity to clients’ complex issues and have acted on some of the most complicated matters in the financial institutions regulatory space, as well as leading financial institution M&A transactions. We advise financial institutions and other financial market participants such as intermediaries, payment providers, and Fintechs/Insurtechs on the regulatory requirements governing their businesses and transactions, and work with them to develop strategies to mitigate regulatory and business risk.   

Governments, regulatory agencies, and private sector organizations also regularly retain us on national and international financial services policy development, implementation and issues. We offer:

  • Cross-border experience: Our thorough understanding of the regulatory nuances, opportunities and challenges shaping Canada’s financial sector enables us to help international clients achieve success. We frequently advise global financial service providers on M&A and product, company and branch launches in Canada, including banks, trust companies, insurance companies and new Fintech and Insurtech platforms.
  • Commercially oriented counsel: We have extensive experience with complex business models and financial services innovation, and deliver strategic business-focused guidance. We partner with you as an extension of your operations and provide practical solutions that address your regulatory needs and help you tap into emerging business opportunities, minimizing risk while challenging the status quo.
  • Strong regulatory insight and regulator relationships: We make it our business to identify potential regulatory challenges to assist you in more efficiently identifying business opportunities. We deal regularly with Canadian prudential and market conduct regulators, including the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), British Columbia Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), and Alberta Superintendent of Insurance, on our clients’ most important matters. We serve on important regulatory committees, providing input into the development of financial sector policies and regulation. Our team also regularly works on applications to the federal Minister of Finance to create new financial institutions, and to federal and provincial financial regulators to satisfy licensing requirements, launch new products, or obtain regulatory approval for material transactions.
  • Proven expertise: We list leading domestic and foreign banks and insurers operating in Canada among our clients, as well as industry organizations. Our lawyers and financial services practice are routinely recognised in publications such as Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business, IFLR 1000: Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms, Legal 500 and other recognized and respected directories.

Comprehensive financial institution regulatory services

With offices in key Canadian markets, our team includes some of Canada’s most experienced and best-regarded practitioners and is sought out for its holistic, industry-leading expertise, including insight into significant, novel regulatory mandates. We seamlessly integrate top talent from across our firm’s practice areas to help you deal quickly and effectively with market challenges, from compliance and governance to M&A and litigation, and provide a full range of financial institutions regulatory services.   

Product launches and expansion into Canada: Launching financial products and institutions in the Canadian market requires careful navigation of the regulatory framework. We assist international clients, including those from the U.S., U.K., and other jurisdictions, in expanding their products and operations into Canada. Our services include regulatory compliance assessments, advising on market entry strategies, and facilitating necessary approvals and registrations.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): Our regulatory expertise is a natural complement to our market-leading M&A practice. We help domestic and global clients navigate the complex regulatory obstacles of M&A transactions involving regulated financial institutions, from the due diligence phase to obtaining regulatory approvals. Our deep experience in providing strategic advice, negotiating terms, and mitigating risks, facilitates successful and seamless mergers, acquisitions, and other joint ventures. 

Payments and cards: We guide clients through the diverse regulatory issues related to payments and cards, including electronic payment systems, digital currencies, and credit card, gift/prepaid card and loyalty programs. Our specialized knowledge and support in this area ensures clients understand and comply with the applicable regulations, enabling them to successfully navigate the evolving landscape of payment technologies.

Consumer protection: We will help you devise effective consumer protection compliance policies and programs that mitigate risk. Our team draws upon an outstanding track record when advising you on compliance with consumer protection requirements, particularly as it relates to cost of credit disclosure and the financial consumer protection framework under both the Bank Act and provincial legislation. 

Anti-Money Laundering (AML): Our team includes a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and regularly advises our clients on compliance with Canada's anti-money laundering rules and assists in developing related internal policies and compliance programs.

Regulatory inquiries and investigations: When faced with regulatory inquiries or investigations, we will work with you strategically to mitigate your risk and will advocate on your behalf, ensuring your best interests are protected. We have extensive experience navigating the complexities of regulatory proceedings from federal and provincial bodies and will support you every step of the way through regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, as well as assisting with civil cases and responses to compliance reviews, audits and information demands from key federal and provincial regulators.

Disputes: Through our offices across Canada, we provide all the resources needed to handle complex and multijurisdictional disputes in either official language. We represent our clients before regulatory bodies, and we challenge administrative decisions and the validity of legislation and regulations affecting our clients, mitigating impacts that can affect their business. 


Consolidated Insurance Companies Act of Canada, Regulations and Guidelines, 2023, Print and ProView eBook

Consolidated Insurance Companies Act of Canada, Regulations and Guidelines, 2023, Print and ProView eBook

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