Guardian Capital LP et al.
National Policy 11-203 Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions -- relief to permit exchange-traded mutual fund prospectus to omit an underwriter's certificate -- relief from take-over bid requirements for normal course purchases of ETF securities on a marketplace in Canada -- relief granted to facilitate the offering of exchange-traded mutual funds.
Applicable Legislative Provisions
Securities Act (Ontario), R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, as am., ss. 59(1), 147.
National Instrument 62-104 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids, Part 2, s. 6.1.
June 30, 2020
IN THE MATTER OF THE SECURITIES LEGISLATION OF ONTARIO (the Jurisdiction) AND IN THE MATTER OF THE PROCESS FOR EXEMPTIVE RELIEF APPLICATIONS IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS AND IN THE MATTER OF GUARDIAN CAPITAL LP (the Filer) AND GUARDIAN DIRECTED PREMIUM YIELD ETF, GUARDIAN DIRECTED EQUITY PATH ETF, GUARDIAN i3 GLOBAL QUALITY GROWTH ETF, GUARDIAN i3 US QUALITY GROWTH ETF, GUARDIAN i3 GLOBAL REIT ETF (the Proposed ETFs)
The principal regulator in the Jurisdiction has received an application from the Filer on behalf of the Proposed ETFs and any additional exchange-traded mutual funds (the Future ETFs, and together with the Proposed ETFs, the ETFs, each an ETF) established in the future for which the Filer is the manager, for a decision under the securities legislation of the Jurisdiction of the principal regulator (the Legislation) that:
(a) exempts the Filer and each ETF from the requirement to include a certificate of an underwriter in an ETF's prospectus (the Underwriter's Certificate Requirement); and
(b) exempts a person or company purchasing ETF Securities (as defined below) in the normal course through the facilities of the TSX (as defined below) or another Marketplace (as defined below) from the Take-Over Bid Requirements (as defined below)
(collectively, the "Exemption Sought").
Under the Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions (for a passport application):
(a) the Ontario Securities Commission is the principal regulator for this application; and
(b) the Filer has provided notice that section 4.7(1) of Multilateral Instrument 11-102 Passport System (MI 11-102) is intended to be relied upon in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Québec, Saskatchewan and Yukon (together with Ontario, the Jurisdictions).
Terms defined in National Instrument 14-101 Definitions and MI 11-102 have the same meaning if used in this decision, unless otherwise defined.
Affiliate Dealer means a registered dealer that is an affiliate of an Authorized Dealer or Designated Broker and that participates in the re-sale of Creation Units (as defined below) from time to time.
Authorized Dealer means a registered dealer that has entered, or intends to enter, into an agreement with the manager of an ETF authorizing the dealer to subscribe for, purchase and redeem Creation Units from one or more ETFs on a continuous basis from time to time.
Basket of Securities means, in relation to the ETF Securities of an ETF, a group of securities or assets representing the constituents of the ETF.
Designated Broker means a registered dealer that has entered, or intends to enter, into an agreement with the manager of an ETF to perform certain duties in relation to the ETF, including the posting of a liquid two-way market for the trading of the ETF Securities on the TSX or another Marketplace.
ETF Facts means a prescribed summary disclosure document required in respect of one or more classes or series of ETF Securities being distributed under a prospectus.
ETF Security means a listed security of an ETF.
Marketplace means a "marketplace" as defined in National Instrument 21-101 Marketplace Operations that is located in Canada.
NI 81-102 means National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds.
Other Dealer means a registered dealer that is not an Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker or Affiliate Dealer
Prescribed Number of ETF Securities means the number of ETF Securities determined by the Filer from time to time for the purpose of subscription orders, exchanges, redemptions or for other purposes.
Prospectus Delivery Requirement means the requirement that a dealer, not acting as agent of the purchaser, who receives an order or subscription for a security offered in a distribution to which the prospectus requirement of the Legislation applies, send or deliver to the purchaser or its agent, unless the dealer has previously done so, the latest prospectus and any amendment either before entering into an agreement of purchase and sale resulting from the order or subscription, or not later than midnight on the second business day after entering into that agreement.
Securityholders means beneficial or registered holders of ETF Securities.
Take-Over Bid Requirements means the requirements of National Instrument 62-104 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids relating to take-over bids, including the requirement to file a report of a take-over bid and to pay the accompanying fee, in each Jurisdiction.
TSX means the Toronto Stock Exchange.
This decision is based on the following facts represented by the Filer:
1. The Filer is an Ontario limited partnership, which is wholly-owned by Guardian Capital Group Limited. The general partner of the Filer is Guardian Capital Inc., an Ontario corporation wholly-owned by Guardian Capital Group Limited, with its head office in Ontario.
2. The Filer is registered as: (i) a portfolio manager in all of the provinces of Canada; (ii) an exempt market dealer in all of the provinces of Canada; (iii) an investment fund manager in Ontario, Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador; (iv) commodity trading counsel in Ontario; and (v) a commodity trading manager in Ontario.
3. The Filer is, or will be, the investment fund manager of the ETFs. The Filer has applied, or will apply, to list the ETF Securities on the TSX or another Marketplace.
4. The Filer is not in default of securities legislation in any of the Jurisdictions.
5. Each Proposed ETF will be a mutual fund structured as a trust that is governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario. The Future ETFs will be either trusts or corporations or classes thereof governed by the laws of a Jurisdiction. Each ETF will be a reporting issuer in the Jurisdiction(s) in which its securities are distributed.
6. Subject to any exemptions that have been, or may be, granted by the applicable securities regulatory authorities, each ETF will be an open-ended mutual fund subject to NI 81-102 and Securityholders of each ETF will have the right to vote at a meeting of Securityholders in respect of matters prescribed by NI 81-102.
7. The ETF Securities will be listed on the TSX or another Marketplace.
8. The Filer will file a final long form prospectus prepared and filed in accordance with National Instrument 41-101 General Prospectus Requirements, subject to any exemptions that may be granted by the applicable securities regulatory authorities.
9. ETF Securities will be distributed on a continuous basis in one or more of the Jurisdictions under a prospectus. ETF Securities may generally only be subscribed for or purchased directly from the ETFs (Creation Units) by Authorized Dealers or Designated Brokers. Generally, subscriptions or purchases may only be placed for a Prescribed Number of ETF Securities (or a multiple thereof) on any day when there is a trading session on the TSX or other Marketplace. Authorized Dealers or Designated Brokers subscribe for Creation Units for the purpose of facilitating investor purchases of ETF Securities on the TSX or another Marketplace.
10. In addition to subscribing for and re-selling Creation Units, Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers and Affiliate Dealers will also generally be engaged in purchasing and selling ETF Securities of the same class or series as the Creation Units in the secondary market. Other Dealers may also be engaged in purchasing and selling ETF Securities of the same class or series as the Creation Units in the secondary market despite not being an Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker or Affiliate Dealer.
11. Each Designated Broker or Authorized Dealer that subscribes for Creation Units must deliver, in respect of each Prescribed Number of ETF Securities to be issued, a Basket of Securities and/or cash in an amount sufficient so that the value of the Basket of Securities and/or cash delivered is equal to the net asset value of the ETF Securities subscribed for next determined following the receipt of the subscription order. In the discretion of the Filer, the ETFs may also accept subscriptions for Creation Units in cash only, in securities other than Baskets of Securities and/or in a combination of cash and securities other than Baskets of Securities, in an amount equal to the net asset value of the ETF Securities subscribed for next determined following the receipt of the subscription order.
12. Designated Brokers and Authorized Dealers will not receive any fees or commissions in connection with the issuance of Creation Units to them. On the issuance of Creation Units, the Filer or an ETF may, in the Filer's discretion, charge a fee to a Designated Broker or an Authorized Dealer to offset the expenses incurred in issuing the Creation Units.
13. Upon notice given by the Filer from time to time and, in any event, not more than once quarterly, a Designated Broker may be contractually required to subscribe for Creation Units of an ETF for cash in an amount not to exceed a specified percentage of the net asset value of the ETF or such other amount established by the Filer.
14. Each ETF will appoint, at any given time, a Designated Broker to perform certain other functions, which include standing in the market with a bid and ask price for ETF Securities for the purpose of maintaining liquidity for the ETF Securities.
15. Except for Authorized Dealer and Designated Broker subscriptions for Creation Units, as described above, and other distributions that are exempt from the Prospectus Delivery Requirement under the Legislation, ETF Securities generally will not be able to be purchased directly from an ETF. Investors are generally expected to purchase and sell ETF Securities, directly or indirectly, through dealers executing trades through the facilities of the TSX or another Marketplace. ETF Securities may also be issued directly to ETF Securityholders upon a reinvestment of distributions of income or capital gains.
16. Securityholders that are not Designated Brokers or Authorized Dealers that wish to dispose of their ETF Securities may generally do so by selling their ETF Securities on the TSX or other Marketplace, through a registered dealer, subject only to customary brokerage commissions. A Securityholder that holds a Prescribed Number of ETF Securities or multiple thereof may exchange such ETF Securities for Baskets of Securities and/or cash in the discretion of the Filer. Securityholders may also redeem ETF Securities for cash at a redemption price equal to 95% of the closing price of the ETF Securities on the TSX or other Marketplace on the date of redemption, subject to a maximum redemption price of the applicable net asset value per ETF Security.
Underwriter's Certificate Requirement
17. Authorized Dealers and Designated Brokers will not provide the same services in connection with a distribution of Creation Units as would typically be provided by an underwriter in a conventional underwriting.
18. The Filer will generally conduct its own marketing, advertising and promotion of the ETFs.
19. The Authorized Dealers and Designated Brokers will not be involved in the preparation of an ETF's prospectus, will not perform any review or any independent due diligence as to the content of an ETF's prospectus, and will not incur any marketing costs or receive any underwriting fees or commissions from the ETFs or the Filer in connection with the distribution of ETF Securities. The Authorized Dealers and Designated Brokers generally seek to profit from their ability to create and redeem ETF Securities by engaging in arbitrage trading to capture spreads between the trading prices of ETF Securities and their underlying securities and by making markets for their clients to facilitate client trading in ETF Securities.
20. In addition, neither the Filer nor the ETFs will pay any fees or commissions to the Designated Brokers and Authorized Dealers. As the Designated Brokers and Authorized Dealers will not receive any remuneration in connection with distributing ETF Securities and as the Authorized Dealers will change from time to time, it is not practical to provide an underwriters' certificate in the prospectus of the ETFs.
Take-Over Bid Requirements
21. As equity securities that will trade on the TSX or another Marketplace, it is possible for a person or company to acquire such number of ETF Securities so as to trigger the application of the Take-Over Bid Requirements. However:
(a) it will not be possible for one or more Securityholders to exercise control or direction over an ETF, as the constating documents of each ETF provide that there can be no changes made to such ETF which do not have the support of the Filer;
(b) it will be difficult for purchasers of ETF Securities to monitor compliance with the Take-Over Bid Requirements because the number of outstanding ETF Securities will always be in flux as a result of the ongoing issuance and redemption of ETF Securities by each ETF; and
(c) the way in which the ETF Securities will be priced deters anyone from either seeking to acquire control or offering to pay a control premium for outstanding ETF Securities because pricing for each ETF Security will generally reflect the net asset value of the ETF Securities.
22. The application of the Take-Over Bid Requirements to the ETFs would have an adverse impact on the liquidity of the ETF Securities because they could cause the Designated Brokers and other large Securityholders to cease trading ETF Securities once the Securityholder has reached the prescribed threshold at which the Take-Over Bid Requirements would apply. This, in turn, could serve to provide conventional mutual funds with a competitive advantage over the ETFs.
The principal regulator is satisfied that the decision meets the test set out in the Legislation for the principal regulator to make the decision.
The decision of the principal regulator is that the Exemption Sought from:
1. the Underwriter's Certificate Requirement is granted; and
2. the Take-Over Bid Requirements is granted.
As to the Exemption Sought from the Underwriter's Certificate Requirement:
Ontario Securities Commission
Ontario Securities Commission
As to the Exemption Sought from the Take-Over Bid Requirements:
Manager, Investment Funds and Structured Products
Ontario Securities Commission