Financial Institutions - Regulatory Framework

About the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions

The Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions is a division of Alberta Treasury Board and Finance. We oversee the deposit taking institutions marketplace in Alberta. This entails overseeing the corporate incidents of financial institutions and the regulation of financial institutions operating in Alberta.

Corporate Incidents

Corporate incidents include items such as the incorporation, amalgamation and dissolution of provincially incorporated financial institutions and the registration of provincial and extra-provincial financial institutions. It is regulated primarily to promote a level, fair and competitive financial marketplace in Alberta. For example, companies are not allowed to be in the business of deposit taking from or acting as a trustee for, the public in Alberta without being registered. This enables us to ensure that certain standards of care and responsibilities are imposed on the company holding your hard earned money. This reduces the risks to the consumer and allows companies who operate responsibly to compete with companies that, for example, would otherwise want to cut corners on security.

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Regulation of the Operations of Financial Institutions

Our role regarding the regulation of the operations of financial institutions are along two lines, solvency and market conduct.

As it pertains to solvency, regulation creates a climate that minimizes the risk of loss to depositors or trust in the event of the failure of their financial institution. Regulation is not a guarantee of success for a financial institution. Financial institutions operate to generate a profit either for their shareholders or, in the case of a credit union, for its members. To do this, companies take business risks, which, in some cases, may lead to financial difficulties and even to failure.

Our role regarding market conduct relates to broader market-place issues such as coercive practices and tied selling. It is important to note that while we do not have the authority to dictate how these institutions make routine business decisions (i.e. setting service fees) or how they go about their day-to-day affairs (i.e. hours of operation) we provide general consumer information and will assist in mediating a dispute between a financial institution and their customer.

In making financial decisions, policyholders and depositors are encouraged to be vigilant in obtaining information on the financial condition of the financial service provider, determining whether the institution is regulated, and determining the insured status of the financial products they choose.

Our role takes into consideration the total regulatory framework in Canada. We act in concert with other regulatory bodies, both federal and provincial, auditors (internal and external), the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC), Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), financial institutions and their industry associations and Albertans in establishing and enforcing the regulatory framework in Alberta to ensure that it is done in an efficient and effective method.

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Related Alberta Legislation

Note:  please see the following links for legislation regarding:

The following is a list of legislation that has a direct impact on the operations of most financial institutions. This list is not exhaustive and you should seek legal advice as to whether other pieces of legislation are applicable.  If you would prefer a paper copy, they are available from the Queen's Printer.

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Page last updated:  October 29, 2013