As the investment market watchdog for the province, the British Columbia Securities Commission has various tools to detect possible misconduct in the investment market or a failure to comply with securities rules, and to respond rapidly.
Knock and Talks: BCSC investigators make unannounced visits to offices of companies that may be engaging in investment or trading activity, but may not be complying with securities law. During these visits, BCSC investigators may ask about the nature of the business to determine whether it is operating legally.
Inquiry Letters: The BCSC sends a written enquiry to an individual or a company that appears to be engaging in illegal capital-raising activity, providing investment advice, or trading without being registered.
Caution Letters: The BCSC may send a written warning to a person whose activities raise concerns. These letters often suggest that the person familiarize themselves with the securities legislation or obtain legal advice about how to comply. Sometimes, depending on the situation and the urgency, the BCSC relays this warning by telephone or email.
Preservation Orders: During investigations, the executive director has the authority to issue a Preservation Order, preventing a person from transferring assets. It also increases the chances that there would be funds available to pay any sanctions that might be imposed by a BCSC panel.