Thursday, August 4, 2016
anita anand

The Faculty of Law’s Prof. Anita Anand has received one of eight Law Foundation of Ontario grants, through its national Access to Justice Fund (ATJF), to fund an investor rights projects—the first of its kind in Canada focusing “on the need for additional or alternative regulation in the area of investor remedies.”

Anand, J.R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance, will research whether new remedies for investors, including a restitutionary remedy, should be available to investors who suffer from corporate wrongdoing, under securities law, corporate law or criminal law.

“Investing can be complex, even for those with a high level of financial literacy,” said Linda R. Rothstein, the foundation’s board chair, and a Faculty of Law alumna. “More and more people are feeling the financial pressure to invest in the market—not to get rich but just to be able to afford their retirements or pay for their child’s education. The connection between investor rights and access to justice may not be immediately apparent, but in fact the investor rights projects being funded demonstrate that there is a significant gap in knowledge, protection, and access to services for investors in Canada, especially for vulnerable investors.”

The U of T project focuses on restitution since this is the least available, least understood and, as a result, the most infrequently discussed remedy within the securities context.

Anand’s legal research project will: investigate all remedies available to investors in Canada and in other common law jurisdictions; examine legal and economic rationales for remedies, explore regulatory justifications for countries to adopt additional remedies; focus on sanctions arising from public enforcement proceedings, and examine the relationship between the legal regime for investor remedies and the prevalence of enforcement actions, with a view to determining if strong private investor remedies mitigate the need for regulators to intervene and initiate public proceedings.

Results from the project will not only benefit investors but also regulators and policymakers.

The LFO’s distinct Access to Justice Fund (ATJF) is a permanent fund which supports access to justice projects across the country. The foundation created the ATJF in 2009 after receiving a $14.6 million cy-près award from Cassano v. TD Bank, and to date has supported more than 100 grants worth more than $15.2 million.

Factors that can make an investor vulnerable may include a low level of financial literacy, the inability to converse in English or French, dementia or other health issues, little to no savings, and dependence on return on investments for their retirement or as a result of other circumstances, such as a disability.

This was the foundation’s first round of granting dedicated specifically to investor rights.

Read the full press release here.