The Obsidian Blog

Key industry guidelines & regulatory updates that support e-signatures

Posted by Obsidian on Jul 11, 2019

The Canadian Capital Market has been opening up towards usage of e-signatures from a regulatory perspective, with the goal to get digital all out.

Having regulatory bodies onboard, providing clarity around the use of technology is crucial. Here is the overview of the some of the most significant updates that support e-signatures:

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  • The purpose of an e-signature is to establish a lasting and reliable record of intent to execute a document. Implemented correctly, and where applicable, an e-signature is functionally equivalent to a manual/ink signature on a paper document.” - Fund Industry Guidelines for Electronic Signatures

A big update from Fundserv for the advisor network came into effect on November 2018. For a while now they are recognizing the value of e-signatures and the fact that when implemented correctly, they are equivalent to manual ink signatures and paper documents, and that’s a pretty strong support from that side.



  •  “Electronic commerce legislation now clarifies that electronic signatures are legally valid in those jurisdictions. The commonly accepted legal definition of "executed" and "signature" all suggest that there is more than one method of signing (and hence executing) a document.” - Ontario Securities Commission Notice, November 2011.

The OSC has come out in 2011 with the finding that acceptance the e-signatures is already done so they have been onboard for a while. The finding was that the way the registration is written, executed and signed suggests that there is more than one method of signing the document.



  • "IIROC's principles-based rules are designed to give firms the flexibility to choose the form that a signature may take – be it by physically committing pen to paper or the convenience of using an e-signature." - IIROC Rules Notice, March 26, 2019.

 This big update was just a little over month ago - IIROC came out with their latest documents that clarifies their position on e-subscription documents, stating that they are onboard effectively and immediately, supporting e-signatures as an equivalent to using the wet signature or paper signature. That’s a big step for IIROC to come out with those rules and it’s an extra level of support for the e-signatures.


For advisors that have not used e-signatures before, having a support of regulatory bodies just adds an additional comfort to them and makes it easier to move forward with the process of adopting e-signatures in everyday use and saves a lot of time for all parties.

Using electronic subscription in the investment industry was the grey area up until this point and it’s safe to say that there have been hesitations, but we did a poll with clients using our Obsidian Suite platform and electronic subscription documents and we are actually really pleasantly surprised to see that majority of dealer networks at some point or another had used it. Especially now with IIROC the managers in Canada have a strong ally with the respect to going digital.” –Obsidian Solutions




Topics: Smartdocs, e signatures

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