The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) published its annual report June 16, summarizing the oversight and regulatory activities undertaken by the regulator in 2021.

The document, Summary of Oversight and Regulatory Activities, discusses disclosure trends and requirements for public issuers.

Benoît Gascon, senior director of corporate finance with the AMF says it is the direction principale du financement des sociétés (AMF corporate finance) that is responsible for ensuring that investors are protected and markets operate efficiently. He adds that in 2021, capital raising in Quebec continued to grow at a rapid pace, but all filings were reviewed within the usual time frames.

In addition to discussing prospectus requirements, financial statements and management discussion documents, the report goes on to examine various regulatory initiatives, including projects to reduce regulatory burden and also those to address current issues including disclosure of climate related matters, and diversity. The AMF says going forward it will continue to invest in digital transformation, data access and analytics.

In looking at the representation of women on boards and in executive officer positions, the report’s findings show that board seats occupied by women within the companies reviewed currently sits at 27 per cent, up from 18 per cent in 2015; 46 per cent of companies had at least three women on their boards, up from 20 per cent in 2015.

Disclosure regarding environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors also featured prominently in the report, along with a table outlining the required disclosures, where they should be found and made available, and links to the regulatory references for each required disclosure.

“Companies are reminded that all such information must be included in their continuous disclosure documents,” they write, adding that voluntary ESG reports, “whichever standards they claim to meet, are not a substitute for continuous disclosure documents that satisfy regulatory requirements.” 

The go on to say that such reports can be overly promotional in tone and only provide positive information about the topics they cover. “Generally, they are also not certified by senior management and the information disclosed is not subject to the same controls as other disclosure documents.”