National Policy 11-203 Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions -- relief granted to exchange-traded series of conventional mutual funds for continuous distribution of securities -- relief to permit prospectus to not include an underwriter's certificate -- relief from take-over bid requirements for normal course purchases of securities on the TSX -- relief granted to facilitate the offering of exchange-traded series and conventional mutual fund series within same fund structure -- relief granted from the requirement in NI 41-101 to prepare and file a long form prospectus for exchange-traded series provided that a simplified prospectus is prepared and filed in accordance with NI 81-101 -- exchange-traded series and mutual fund series referable to same portfolio and have substantially identical disclosure -- relief permitting all series of funds to be disclosed in same prospectus -- disclosure required by NI 41-101 for exchange-traded series and not contemplated by NI 81-101 will be disclosed in prospectus under relevant headings.
Applicable Legislative Provisions
Securities Act (Ontario), R.S.O. 1990, c. S.5, as am., ss. 59(1), 147.
National Instrument 41-101 General Prospectus Requirements, s. 19.1.
National Instrument 62-104 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids, Part 2 and s. 6.1.
May 11, 2018
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 BMO INVESTMENTS INC. (the Filer)
The principal regulator in the Jurisdiction has received an application from the Filer on behalf of the BMO mutual funds listed in Schedule A (collectively, the Proposed ETF Funds), each of which offers an exchange-traded series, and such other exchange-traded series mutual funds as are managed or may be managed by the Filer now or in the future and that are structured in the same manner as the Proposed ETF Funds (the Other Funds and together with the Proposed ETF Funds, the Funds and each individually, a Fund) for a decision under the securities legislation of the Jurisdiction (the Legislation) that:
(a) exempts the Filer and each Fund from the requirement to prepare and file a long form prospectus for the ETF Securities (as defined below) in the form prescribed by Form 41-101F2 Information Required in an Investment Fund Prospectus (Form 41-101F2), subject to the terms of this decision and provided that the Filer files a prospectus for the ETF Securities in accordance with the provisions of National Instrument 81-101 Mutual Fund Prospectus Disclosure (NI 81-101), other than the requirements pertaining to the filing of a fund facts document (the ETF Prospectus Form Requirement);
(b) exempts the Filer and each Fund from the requirement to include a certificate of an underwriter in a Fund's prospectus (the Underwriter's Certificate Requirement); and
(c) exempts a person or company purchasing ETF Securities (as defined below) in the normal course through the facilities of the TSX 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 all of the provinces and territories of Canada other than Ontario (together with Ontario, the Jurisdictions).
Terms defined in National Instrument 14-101 Definitions, MI 11-102, and National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds (NI 81-102) 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 a Fund authorizing the dealer to subscribe for, purchase and redeem Creation Units from one or more Funds on a continuous basis from time to time.
Basket of Securities means, in relation to a Fund, a group of securities or assets representing the constituents of the Fund.
Designated Broker means a registered dealer that has entered, or intends to enter, into an agreement with the Filer or an affiliate of the Filer to perform certain duties in relation to the ETF Securities, including the posting of a liquid two-way market for the trading of the Fund's ETF Securities on the TSX or another Marketplace.
ETF Facts means a prescribed summary disclosure document required pursuant to National Instrument 41-101 General Prospectus Requirements, in respect of one or more classes or series of ETF Securities being distributed under a prospectus.
ETF Securities means securities of an ETF Series of a Fund that are listed or will be listed on the TSX or another Marketplace and that will be distributed pursuant to a simplified prospectus prepared in accordance with NI 81-101 and Form 81-101F1.
ETF Series means an exchange-traded series of a Fund.
Form 81-101F1 means Form 81-101F1 Contents of Simplified Prospectus.
Form 81-101F2 means Form 81-101F2 Contents of Annual Information Form.
Marketplace means a "marketplace" as defined in National Instrument 21-101 Marketplace Operation that is located in Canada.
Mutual Fund Securities means securities of a non-exchange-traded series of a Fund that are or will be distributed pursuant to a simplified prospectus prepared in accordance with NI 81-101 and Form 81-101F1.
Other Dealer means a registered dealer that acts as authorized dealer or designated broker to exchange-traded funds that are not managed by the Filer and that has received relief under a Prospectus Delivery Decision.
Prescribed Number of ETF Securities means, in relation to a Fund, the number of ETF Securities of the Fund determined by the Filer from time to time for the purpose of subscription orders, exchanges, redemptions or for other purposes.
Prospectus Delivery Decision means a decision granting relief from the Prospectus Delivery Requirement to an Affiliate Dealer, Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker or Other Dealer dated August 24, 2015 and any subsequent decision granted to an Affiliate Dealer, Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker or Other Dealer that grants similar relief.
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 and registered holders of ETF Securities or Mutual Fund Securities, as applicable.
Take-over Bid Requirements means the requirements of NI 62-104 Takeover 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 a corporation governed by the laws of Canada with its head office in Toronto, Ontario.
2. The Filer is registered as an investment fund manager in Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, and as a mutual fund dealer in each of the Jurisdictions.
3. The Filer or an affiliate of the Filer is, or will be, the investment fund manager of each Fund.
4. The Filer is not in default of securities legislation in any of the Jurisdictions.
5. Each Proposed ETF Fund is established under the laws of Ontario as an investment fund that is an open-ended mutual fund trust. The Funds will be either trusts or corporations or classes thereof governed by the laws of the Jurisdiction. Each Fund is, or will be, a reporting issuer in the Jurisdictions in which its securities are distributed. Each Fund offers, or will offer, ETF Securities and Mutual Fund Securities.
6. Subject to any exemptions therefrom that have been, or may be, granted by the applicable securities regulatory authorities, each Fund is, or will be, subject to NI 81-102 and Securityholders will have the right to vote at a meeting of Securityholders in respect of matters prescribed by NI 81-102.
7. The Proposed ETF Funds, other than BMO Global Multi-Sector Bond Fund, currently offer one or more of Series A, Series F, Series D, Series I and Advisor Series securities. These Mutual Fund Securities are currently distributed under a simplified prospectus dated April 24, 2017, as amended.
8. On March 23, 2018, a preliminary and pro forma prospectus in respect of the Mutual Fund Securities and ETF Securities of the Proposed ETF Funds was filed with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the Jurisdictions.
9. The TSX has conditionally approved the listing of the ETF Securities of the Proposed ETF Funds on the TSX. The Filer will apply to list any ETF Securities of any Other Funds on the TSX or another Marketplace and will not file a final prospectus for any of the Other Funds in respect of the ETF Securities until the TSX or other applicable Marketplace has conditionally approved the listing of the ETF Securities.
10. Mutual Fund Securities may be subscribed for or purchased directly from a Fund through registered dealers.
11. 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 Funds (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.
12. 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.
13. 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 Funds 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.
14. The 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 the Fund 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.
15. Each Fund will appoint 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.
16. 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 a Fund. 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 Securityholders upon a reinvestment of distributions of income or capital gains.
17. 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.
ETF Prospectus Form Requirement
18. The Filer believes it is more efficient and expedient to include all of the series of each Fund in one prospectus form instead of two different prospectus forms and that this presentation will assist in providing full, true and plain disclosure of all material facts relating to the securities of the Funds by permitting disclosure relating to all series of securities to be included in one prospectus.
19. The Filer will ensure that any additional disclosure included in the simplified prospectus and annual information form relating to the ETF Securities will not interfere with an investor's ability to differentiate between the Mutual Fund Securities and the ETF Securities and their respective attributes.
20. The Funds will comply with the provisions of NI 81-101 when filing any amendment or prospectus.
Underwriter's Certificate Requirement
21. 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.
22. The Filer will generally conduct its own marketing, advertising and promotion of the Funds to the extent permitted by its registrations.
23. Authorized Dealers and Designated Brokers will not be involved in the preparation of a Fund's prospectus, will not perform any review or any independent due diligence to the content of a Fund's prospectus, and will not incur any marketing costs or receive any underwriting fees or commissions from the Funds 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.
Prospectus Delivery Requirement
24. Securities regulatory authorities have advised that they take the view that the first re-sale of a Creation Unit on the TSX or another Marketplace will generally constitute a distribution of Creation Units under the Legislation and that the Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers and Affiliate Dealers are subject to the Prospectus Delivery Requirement in connection with such re-sales. Re-sales of ETF Securities in the secondary market that are not Creation Units would not ordinarily constitute a distribution of such ETF Securities.
25. According to Authorized Dealers and Designated Brokers, Creation Units will generally be commingled with other ETF Securities purchased by the Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers and Affiliate Dealers in the secondary market. As such, it is not practicable for the Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers or Affiliate Dealers to determine whether a particular re-sale of ETF Securities involves Creation Units or ETF Securities purchased in the secondary market.
26. Under the applicable Prospectus Delivery Decision, Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers and Affiliate Dealers are exempt from the Prospectus Delivery Requirement in connection with the re-sale of Creation Units to investors on the TSX or another Marketplace. Under a Prospectus Delivery Decision, Other Dealers are also exempt from the Prospectus Delivery Requirement in connection with the re-sale of creation units of other exchange-traded funds that are not managed by the Filer.
27. Each Prospectus Delivery Decision includes a condition that the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer undertakes that it will, unless it has previously done so, send or deliver to each purchaser of an ETF Security who is a customer of the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer and to whom a trade confirmation is required under the Legislation to be sent or delivered by the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer in connection with the purchase, the latest ETF Facts filed in respect of the ETF Security not later than midnight on the second day, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the purchase of the ETF Security.
28. The Filer will prepare and file with the applicable Jurisdictions on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) an ETF Facts for each class or series of ETF Securities and will make available to the applicable Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers, Affiliate Dealers and Other Dealers the requisite number of copies of the ETF Facts for the purpose of facilitating their compliance with the Prospectus Delivery Decision within the timeframe necessary to allow Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers, Affiliate Dealers and Other Dealers to effect delivery of the ETF Facts as contemplated in the Prospectus Delivery Decision.
Take-over Bid Requirements
29. 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 be difficult for the 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 Fund; and
b. the way in which 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 series net asset value of the ETF Securities.
30. The application of the Take-over Bid Requirements to the Funds 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 a 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 Funds.
The principal regulator is satisfied that the decision meets the test set out in the Legislation for the principal regulator to make the decision.
1. The decision of the principal regulator is that the Exemption Sought from the ETF Prospectus Form Requirement is granted, provided that the Filer will be in compliance with the following conditions:
(a) the Filer files a simplified prospectus and annual information form in respect of the ETF Securities in accordance with the requirements of NI 81-101, Form 81-101F1 and Form 81-101F2, other than the requirements pertaining to the filing of a fund facts document;
(b) the Filer includes disclosure required pursuant to Form 41-101F2 (that is not contemplated by Form 81-101F1 or Form 81-101F2) in respect of the ETF Securities, in each Fund's simplified prospectus and/or annual information form, as applicable; and
(c) the Filer includes disclosure regarding this decision under the heading "Additional Information" and "Exemptions and Approvals" in each Fund's simplified prospectus and annual information form, respectively.
2. The decision of the principal regulator is that the Exemption Sought in respect of the Underwriter's Certificate Requirement is granted, provided that the Filer will be in compliance with the following conditions:
(a) the Filer provides or makes available to each Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer, the number of copies of the ETF Facts of each ETF Security that the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer reasonably requests in support of compliance with its respective Prospectus Delivery Decision;
(b) each Fund's prospectus, as the same may be amended from time to time, will disclose both the relief granted pursuant to the Exemption Sought and the Prospectus Delivery Decision;
(c) the Filer obtains an executed acknowledgement from each Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker and Affiliate Dealer, and uses its best efforts to obtain an acknowledgment from each Other Dealer:
(i) indicating each dealer's election, in connection with the re-sale of Creation Units on the TSX or another Marketplace, to send or deliver the ETF Facts in accordance with a Prospectus Delivery Decision or, alternatively, to comply with the Prospectus Delivery Requirement; and
(ii) if the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer agrees to deliver the ETF Facts in accordance with a Prospectus Delivery Decision:
(A) an undertaking that the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer will attach or bind one Fund's ETF Facts with another Fund's ETF Facts only if the documents are being sent or delivered under the Prospectus Delivery Decision at the same time to an investor purchasing ETF Securities of each such Fund; and
(B) confirming that the Authorized Dealer, Designated Broker, Affiliate Dealer or Other Dealer has in place and will enforce written policies and procedures to ensure that it is in compliance with the conditions of the Prospectus Delivery Decision;
(d) the Filer will keep records of which Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers, Affiliate Dealers and Other Dealers have provided it with an acknowledgement under a Prospectus Delivery Decision, and which intend to rely on and comply with the Prospectus Delivery Decision or intend to comply with the Prospectus Delivery Requirement;
(e) the Filer files with its principal regulator, to the attention of the Director, Investment Funds and Structured Products Branch, on or before January 31st in each calendar year, a certificate signed by its ultimate designated person certifying that, to the best of the knowledge of such person, after making due inquiry, the Filer has complied with the terms and conditions of this decision during the previous calendar year; and
(f) conditions (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e) above do not apply to the Exemption Sought after any new legislation or rule dealing with the Prospectus Delivery Decision takes effect and any applicable transition period has expired.
3. The decision of the principal regulator is that the Exemption Sought from the Take-over Bid Requirements is granted.
As to the Exemption Sought from the ETF Prospectus Form Requirement and the Take-over Bid Requirements:
"Darren McKall"Manager, Investment Funds & Structured Products BranchOntario Securities Commission
As to the Exemption Sought from the Underwriter's Certificate Requirement:
"Philip Anisman"CommissionerOntario Securities Commission"Garnet Fenn"CommissionerOntario Securities Commission
PROPOSED ETF FUNDS