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Single regulator coming for financial services, including real estate

Single regulator coming for financial services, including real estate

July 9, 2021 at 12:49 pm  BC, News, Politics

Beginning Aug. 1, 2021, people buying or selling property will benefit from more efficient and co-ordinated regulation as BC Financial Services Authority will become the sole regulator for B.C.’s financial services sector, including real estate.

“Creating a modern, effective and efficient regulator is a big part of making sure people have consumer protection when buying or selling a home, while also building world-leading protections against money laundering and tax evasion,” said Selina Robinson, Finance Minister. “By uniting the regulation of financial services, including real estate, we’re bringing together tremendous knowledge and expertise into a single organization – BC Financial Services Authority.”

Legislation to enable the integration of the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) with BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) was introduced in March 2021. With the necessary steps now taken to bring the legislation into force, the integration of the three regulators is expected to occur on Aug. 1, 2021.

Currently, BCFSA regulates credit unions, trust companies, registered pension plans, insurance companies and mortgage brokers, as well as administering the province’s deposit insurance program. As the single regulator, BCFSA will add several real estate regulatory accountabilities, including overseeing the education and discipline of real estate licensees.

“OSRE and RECBC have both played vital roles as co-regulators of the real estate industry, and this crucial work to regulate real estate will continue under BCFSA,” Robinson said. “On behalf of government, we thank these important experts for their work to date and congratulate them as they complete their move to BCFSA.”

In 2018, the Real Estate Regulatory Review recommended the creation of a single regulator of real estate to streamline regulation and clarify regulatory roles, noting that the existing system can make B.C.’s real estate market vulnerable to manipulation and abuse. This recommendation was echoed in the landmark 2019 report released by the Expert Panel on Money Laundering in B.C. Real Estate. The B.C. government announced the move to a single regulator later that year.

Quotes:

Blair Morrison, CEO, BC Financial Services Authority

“Integrating B.C.’s regulatory bodies for real estate has been a huge undertaking over the last two years. We look forward to moving ahead as the modern, effective, efficient regulator for the entire financial services sector. This is good news for B.C. – not only for those who will be regulated by BCFSA, but also for all of us who will be buying or selling a house, borrowing money from a credit union, purchasing insurance and relying on pension income in our retirement years.”

Stanley Hamilton, chair, BC Financial Services Authority board of directors –

“Aug. 1 marks a major milestone in our journey, and BCFSA’s board of directors would like to thank team members across all three organizations and the Province for their hard work, professionalism and dedication over the past months to bring our collective strengths together as a single regulator.”

Micheal Noseworthy, current superintendent of real estate –

“This is a significant and positive change to the regulation of the real estate sector. We will continue to work together to create a cohesive, efficient framework that protects consumers in British Columbia.”

Erin Seeley, current CEO, Real Estate Council of British Columbia –

“British Columbians who are buying or selling property need to have confidence that there is a strong regulator looking out for their interests. Knowing the regulator of real estate also oversees mortgage brokers and financial institutions will give consumers the confidence that there is effective consumer protection across the financial services sector.”

Learn More:

Read more about the new organizational structure of BCFSA, to be in place on Aug. 1, 2021:
https://www.bcfsa.ca/pdf/news/BCFSAStatus05192021.pdf

Read about the amendments to enable the creation of a single regulator for B.C.’s financial services, including real estate:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021FIN0017-000368

Read the final report from the Real Estate Regulatory Review:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Real_Estate_Regulatory_Structure_Review_Report_2018.pdf

Learn about the Expert Panel on Money Laundering in B.C. Real Estate and read the report:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/real-estate-bc/consultations/money-laundering

A backgrounder follows.

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