Firm Bulletin: 2021 fees for participating firms

Posted On Tuesday October 13, 2020

How OBSI fees are determined

Participating firm fees are set annually by the OBSI Board of Directors in accordance with our corporate Bylaw. As a not-for-profit organization, participating firm fees fund all our operations and are set on a cost-recovery basis.

Each year, we establish a fee target based on our budget for the coming year and divide that fee target between the sectors of firms that use our service. The division of fees among the different sectors is based on the proportion of OBSI resources that each sector has used in the previous year, which we determine by analysing each sector’s recent case volumes and case complexity. Our board also considers fairness and the impact of fee changes on member firms when setting fees. A guiding principle is that no sector or registrant category should subsidize another. Therefore, fees each year can change, even when our budget has remained stable. You can find more information about how our fees are determined here. 

2021 budget increases necessary to deal with rising case volumes

OBSI continues to take stewardship of our participating firms’ fees seriously and to be prudent in managing our budget. OBSI’s budget has been almost flat since 2011 and has decreased consistently since 2015. Our 2020 budget, for example, was approximately equal to our 2011 budget.

For 2021, we expect to be called upon to deal with increased case volumes compared to recent years due to market volatility and financial uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic. To deal effectively with this case volume, we will need to ensure that we have adequate staff resources to maintain our service levels.

Our 2021 budget reflects this need for additional staff and as a result is approximately 10% higher than our 2020 budget. Virtually all of this increase is related to personnel costs - other budget categories will remain at or below 2020 levels.

Reserve fund will be used to minimize impact for participating firms

Though OBSI’s resource needs are increasing, this increase will not be passed on to participating firms in 2021. Our board and management are aware of the serious challenges facing many participating firms as a result of the pandemic crisis and do not wish to add to this burden.

In recent years of economic stability, we have steadily built our reserve fund to mitigate risks to our organization and participating financial services providers from short-term challenges to our industry, such as the one we are currently facing.

Therefore, our management and board have decided that we will draw the additional funds needed for our operations in 2021 from our reserve fund.

2021 fees by sector

As a result of relying on our reserve fund for pandemic-related increases in 2021, our fee target for participating firms will increase by approximately 1% overall in 2021. Outlined below are the fees by sector, which are determined based on each sector’s relative case volume and complexity as described above:

  • Banks: The fees for the banking sector will increase by 2% relative to 2020. The minimum fee remains unchanged from 2020.
  • IIROC and MFDA firms: The fees for IIROC and MFDA firms will increase by 1%.
  • Exempt Market Dealers & Portfolio Managers: The fees for this sector overall will remain unchanged from 2020, however fees per representative will decrease in 2021 by approximately 7% to $132 per representative. This compares with $142 in 2020, and $155 in 2019.
  • Scholarship Plan Dealers: The fees for this sector overall will increase 5% year over year due primarily to higher than normal case volumes. However, the fee per representative for 2021 will decrease approximately 8.5%, to $129. This compares with $140 per representative in 2020, and $185 per representative in 2019.

Fees for each firm within each sector are set proportionately on the basis of firm size. In some sectors, size is determined by each firm’s assets, and in other sectors, by number of registered representatives.

Expect to hear from us in November

OBSI’s fiscal year begins on November 1. Your firm can expect to receive instructions in November on how to complete your membership fee payment.

Firms who are invoiced annually or quarterly will be contacted with their invoices and provided with options for completing their payments.

Firms who use the OBSI Firm Portal to calculate and process their membership renewals will receive detailed information and instructions for logging into the portal and paying via the portal once the form is available on November 2, 2020.

If you have any questions or concerns please email or call 1 888 451-4519 x 2296. 

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