Securities Law & Instruments

Headnote

National Policy 11-203 Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions -- Relief granted to combine the simplified prospectus of an alternative mutual fund with the simplified prospectus of a conventional mutual fund.

Applicable Legislative Provisions

National Instrument 81-101 Mutual Fund Prospectus Disclosure, ss. 5.1(4) and 6.1.

September 29, 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 RUSSELL INVESTMENTS CANADA LIMITED (the Filer)

DECISION

Background

The principal regulator in the Jurisdiction has received an application from the Filer on behalf of Russell Investments Yield Opportunities Pool (the Existing Alternative Fund) and any alternative mutual fund established in the future and managed by the Filer or an affiliate of the Filer (the Future Alternative Funds, and together with the Existing Alternative Fund, the Alternative Funds) for a decision under the securities legislation of the Jurisdiction of the principal regulator (the Legislation) that grants relief to the Alternative Funds from the requirement in subsection 5.1(4) of National Instrument 81-101 Mutual Fund Prospectus Disclosure (NI 81-101) which states that a simplified prospectus for an alternative mutual fund must not be consolidated with a simplified prospectus of another mutual fund if the other mutual fund is not an alternative mutual fund (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 subsection 4.7(1) of Multilateral Instrument 11-102 Passport System (MI 11-102) is intended to be relied upon in each of the other provinces and territories of Canada (together with Ontario, the Canadian Jurisdictions).

Interpretation

Terms defined in National Instrument 14-101 Definitions, MI 11-102 and National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds (NI 81-102).

Representations

This decision is based on the following facts represented by the Filer:

1. The Filer is a corporation incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario with its head office located in Toronto, Ontario.

2. The Filer currently is registered under the securities legislation in:

(a) the Canadian Jurisdictions in the categories of investment fund manager, portfolio manager and exempt market dealer;

(b) Ontario as a commodity trading manager and as a mutual fund dealer exempt from membership in the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada; and

(c) Manitoba as an advisor (commodities).

3. The Filer, or an affiliate of the Filer, is, or will be, the investment fund manager of each Alternative Fund.

4. The Filer is not in default of the securities legislation in any of the Canadian Jurisdictions.

5. Each Alternative Fund is, or will be, established under the laws of Ontario or Canada as a mutual fund that is a trust or a class of shares of a mutual fund corporation and is, or will be, a reporting issuer in one or more of the Canadian Jurisdictions.

6. The Existing Alternative Fund is not in default of the securities legislation in any of the Canadian Jurisdictions.

7. The securities of each Alternative Fund are, or will be, qualified for distribution in one or more of the Canadian Jurisdictions using a simplified prospectus, annual information form, fund facts documents and/or ETF facts documents, prepared and filed in accordance with the securities legislation of such Canadian Jurisdictions. Each Alternative Fund is, or will be, subject to the requirements of NI 81-101 and NI 81-102.

8. If an Alternative Fund offers both securities which are listed on a stock exchange and securities which are not listed on a stock exchange, the Alternative Fund has received permission to distribute such securities using a simplified prospectus rather than a long form prospectus pursuant to National Instrument 41-101 General Prospectus Requirements (NI 41-101).

9. The Filer wishes to combine the simplified prospectus of the Alternative Funds with the simplified prospectus of mutual funds existing today or created in the future (i) that are reporting issuers to which NI 81-101 and NI 81-102 apply, (ii) that are not alternative mutual funds, and (iii) for which the Filer, or an affiliate of the Filer, acts as the investment fund manager (Conventional Funds) in order to reduce renewal, printing and related costs. Offering the Alternative Funds using the same simplified prospectus and annual information form as the Conventional Funds would facilitate the distribution of the Alternative Funds in the Canadian Jurisdictions under the same prospectus disclosure and enable the Filer to streamline disclosure across the Filer's fund platform.

10. Even though the Alternative Funds are, or will be, alternative mutual funds, they share, or will share, many common operational and administrative features with the Conventional Funds and combining them in the same simplified prospectus will allow investors to more easily compare the features of the Alternative Funds and the Conventional Funds.

11. Investors will continue to receive the fund facts document(s) or ETF facts document(s), as applicable, when purchasing securities of the Alternative Funds or Conventional Funds as required by applicable securities legislation. The form and content of the fund facts document(s) and ETF facts document(s) of the Alternative Funds and Conventional Funds will not change as a result of the Exemption Sought. The simplified prospectus and/or annual information form of the Alternative Funds and Conventional Funds will continue to be provided to investors, upon request, as required by applicable securities legislation.

12. NI 41-101 does not contain a provision equivalent to subsection 5.1(4) of NI 81-101. Accordingly, an investment fund manager that manages exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is permitted to consolidate a prospectus under NI 41-101 for its ETFs that are alternative mutual funds with a prospectus for its ETFs that are conventional mutual funds. There is no reason why mutual funds filing a prospectus under NI 81-101 should be treated differently from ETFs filing a prospectus under NI 41-101.

Decision

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 under the Legislation is that the Exemption Sought is granted.

"Darren McKall"
Investment Funds and Structured Products
Ontario Securities Commission