I would like to express a few points as small investors in Vancouver.
The last few years since 1999 the investments in the stock market are a nightmare to ordinary investors. Most of the portfolios are down more than 50%. That high-tech mutual fund can easily lose 80% or more. Some of the high tech new issues like GT Telecom and 360 Networks, etc. can be traded down to almost nothing. The whole capital markets system must implement major changes in order to protect small and large investments, especially the retirement money. Specifically on retirement money, it should not be exposed in any kind of risk at all. I am sure right now many people who are 50's or 60's are regretting losing substantial amounts of money in the stock market.
The following suggestions may be of good value to your committee.
1. The Toronto Exchange and the Montreal Exchange must take leading screening against any unsuitable listings before selling in the market. The exchanges must hire more experienced professionals to supervise and policing the daily activities. If any individual stock is trading irrationally, it must be halted trading from preventing further plunging of prices. Bad experience like watching Nortel trading from C$124 to 67 cents is horrifying. It simply shows how little the exchange can do to help investors. Immediate investigation should always carry out before the stock can be re-open again. This will prevent major collapse and at the same time it will send a warning signal to any unkind promoter behind any manipulation.
2. Major banks and underwriting stock companies, e.g. Can accord Capital, BMO, Nesbitt Burns, Research Capital, Raymond James, RBC Capital and TD Securities, Scotia Capital, etc. They are the group that must evaluate any new issue's quality before public sale. If it is too risky for ordinary investors, it should not be promoted at all. I remembered GT Telecom is a typical bad example. The stock is worthless now. Again the under-writers must stop selling poor investment to the public. This is very critical to small investor.
3. Canada should unify all provinces licensing as one whole unit, since everybody is trading on the same exchange, same investment products. There is no reason why a broker in BC needs a different license in Ontario. It will benefit individual investor can freely move across Canada (may be employment reason) can still using the same broker. This certainly can maintain the best benefit to ordinary people. This will cut down unnecessary bureaucracy for a smoother operation.
4. Stronger power should be given to excchanges to policing on poor quality investment. Heavy fine should impose on MISLEADING ACCOUNTING. Major auditing firms and accounting firms must sign packs with exchange guaranteeing all reports are 100% accurate. Imprisonment should be used frequently so as to stop all false accounting practicing.
Prevention is better than cure. Hard-earned money was lost in the past year. It is a painfully lesson.
Again, immediate action must be taken to stop further disasters in the capital market.
Wong Mi Ling