Insider Reporting Obligations and Options Backdating

Banking and Finance Law Review, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2011

26 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Jul 2012

See all articles by Lindsay M. Tedds

Lindsay M. Tedds

University of Calgary - The School of Public Policy; University of Calgary - Department of Economics

Ryan A. Compton

University of Manitoba

Daniel Sandler

University of Western Ontario - Faculty of Law

Christopher C. Nicholls

University of Western Ontario

Date Written: October 2, 2010

Abstract

In April 2010, new rules governing the reporting of securities trades by insiders of reporting issuers came into effect in Canada. These new rules were embodied in National Instrument 55-104, and in contemporaneous harmonized changes to Ontario’s Securities Act. Under the new regime, the deadline for filing insider reports has been shortened, from ten calendar days to five calendar days following a purchase or sale. When a draft of National Instrument 55-104 was first published for comment, the Canadian Securities Administrators linked this proposed timing change, among other things, to the practice of improper stock options backdating. The suggestion that insider reporting obligations might deter the practice of options backdating is intriguing. Insider reporting rules have historically been regarded primarily as a regulatory tool to detect or prevent the improper use of inside information by insiders of reporting issuers. For these requirements to perform an effective secondary role in combating improper options backdating, clear rules on the timing of reporting obligations and rigorous enforcement would be required. It is not clear that the administration and enforcement of current Canadian insider reporting rules, crafted with very different objectives in mind, provide an effective deterrent to improper options backdating. A review of the current rules and the mechanisms for their enforcement, together with a comparison with insider reporting regimes in other selected jurisdictions, reveals weaknesses in the Canadian approach and suggests ways in which the Canadian regime could be enhanced to deter or detect options backdating.

Keywords: Insider Reporting, Options Backdating, Securities Regulation, Canada

JEL Classification: G38, J33, J38

Suggested Citation

Tedds, Lindsay M. and Compton, Ryan A. and Sandler, Daniel and Nicholls, Christopher C., Insider Reporting Obligations and Options Backdating (October 2, 2010). Banking and Finance Law Review, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1763936

Lindsay M. Tedds (Contact Author)

University of Calgary - The School of Public Policy ( email )

Calgary, Alberta
Canada

University of Calgary - Department of Economics ( email )

University Drive
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

Ryan A. Compton

University of Manitoba ( email )

501 Fletcher Argue Bldg
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3R3B1
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~compton

Daniel Sandler

University of Western Ontario - Faculty of Law ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 3K7 N6A 3K7
Canada

Christopher C. Nicholls

University of Western Ontario ( email )

1151 Richmond Street
Suite 2
London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada

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