The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has unveiled seven companies that will be part of its OSC TestLab. This initiative aims to help businesses to test technologies that can help Ontario-registered securities businesses and contribute to better investor outcomes.
For its inaugural cohort, the TestLab will focus on solutions that include product comparison, client onboarding, portfolio analytics, and assessment tools that use behavioural science, artificial intelligence, automation, and others. These solutions must follow the overall theme of helping registrants better understand their clients and products, as well as contribute to better client outcomes.
Late last year, the OSC collected external stakeholder feedback to determine “problem statements” to help solve with its TestLab. After the commission surveyed 128 registrants, eight technology providers and 256 individual investors, it determined that the lab would focus on improving client interactions and making information more available, especially around know-your-client (KYC), know-your-product, and suitability obligations.
A mixture of early-stage and later-stage companies across North America will be participating in the TestLab this spring. Among this group are Montréal-based FinTech software startup Mako, Seattle-headquartered Syntoniq, as well as the TMX Group and Toronto firm Wealthscope. A spokesperson for the OSC told BetaKit that all of these businesses have a presence in Ontario.
These companies will begin testing their specific products through the lab later this spring, and are set to conclude by this fall.
Mako, which provides a platform that automates wealth management processes, will be working with registered firm and test partner Designed Wealth Management on a streamlined, dynamic KYC refresh workflow. Mako’s collaboration with the OSC follows its $2 million seed round led by Desjardins Capital where it said, at that time, that it plans to invest heavily in growing its client support and customer success teams to help digest its backlog of interested customers.
American behavioural science tech company Syntoniq will be testing its solutions that uses a behavioral questionnaire to generate an insight-driven assessment for registrants to learn more about their clients and to provide individual investors with insights into the behavioral levers that influence their financial decision-making.
TMX, which is the group behind the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, and Montréal Exchange, will be testing TMX Logicly, a research and portfolio analytics tool with data on public stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in North America. Advisors will test the technology, which includes an AI-driven component that monitors for deviations from client mandates and aims to help advisors optimize client portfolios.
Wealthscope, which offers portfolio level analytics and retirement planning services tools, will be testing its solutions that includes a product comparison and portfolio analytics tool that is designed to help registrants better understand products and recommend a greater variety of offerings to their clients.
Applications for the TestLab opened in November, as the commission aims to make product information more accessible or improve information-sharing and enhance client interactions.
The TestLab is yet another example of the OSC creating testing environments to work with up and coming companies and innovations in the finance space. The spokesperson told BetaKit that the lab builds off of the OSC LaunchPad, which provides direct support to innovative businesses in Ontario. Since it was created in 2016, the OSC claims that the LaunchPad has worked directly with over 300 firms to help them navigate securities laws. For example, Canadian FinTech startups that offer crypto trading platforms, such as Wealthsimple, Coinberry, and CoinSmart, have received temporary exemptions from Canadian securities regulators to test their offerings in a live environment.
In addition to the TestLab and LaunchPad, the OSC also offers a regulatory sandbox program for startups designed to allow businesses to experiment with novel formats of raising capital while minimizing regulatory burden.
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