History of the Exempt Market
A little over a decade ago, early to mid 2000s, the exempt market was referred to more as the private or alternative market, and many of the products involved were real estate based investments. This appealed to many investors because of the low minimum investment amounts and high interest rates. Due to the economy at the time, bank rates were low, credit was easily obtained, as well as secured lines of credit. During this time, it became very easy for almost anybody to buy real estate, make plans to improve it and raise money in a short period of time to do so. Since no regulation was yet introduced, the investors interested in exempt market products dealt with companies and advisors with varying levels of training and knowledge. It was very likely that investors connected with inexperienced advisors who knew very little to nothing about the exempt market, therefore resulting in severe losses when the global economy crashed. That time was terrible for investors involved, but also marked an overall giant turning point for the exempt market as a whole. In September 2009, the Canadian Government introduced new legislation and reformed the marketplace completely and also nationalized parts of the Securities Act.
The Canadian government introduced new legislation to reform the exempt market in September of 2009. Before this legislation, each province had its own set of rules and regulations regarding the trading and selling of Exempt Market products.
These new regulations set out to achieve the following:
- To apply blanket reforms to the distribution of Exempt Market products to investors.
- To strengthen the standards which helps manage the risks for investors.
- To introduce proficiant requirements for both sellers and dealers. This, in turn, eliminates companies/ individuals who have minimal experience or can't be licensed, for whatever reason.
These goals were achieved through National Instrument 31-103. This act ensures that anyone offering Exempt Market products to investors:
- Is licensed.
- Has either completed the Canadian Securities Course, or the specialized Exempt Market Products exam.
- Is registered with an Exempt Market Dealer.
Which introduces everyone to what is now being described as the safety net of the Exempt Market, the Exempt Market Dealer (EMD).