Securities Law & Instruments

Headnote

Mutual Reliance Review System for Exemptive Relief Applications -- certain mutual funds granted exemptions from National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds to engage in short selling of securities up to 10% of net assets, subject to certain conditions and requirements- future oriented relief granted as well.

Rules Cited

National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds , subsections 2.6(a) and (c), 6.1(1) and section 19.1.

July 4, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF

THE SECURITIES LEGISLATION OF

BRITISH COLUMBIA, ALBERTA, SASKATCHEWAN,

MANITOBA, ONTARIO, QUÉBEC,

NEW BRUNSWICK, NOVA SCOTIA, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND,

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, YUKON TERRITORY,

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES AND NUNAVUT TERRITORY

(the Jurisdictions)

AND

IN THE MATTER OF

THE MUTUAL RELIANCE REVIEW SYSTEM

FOR EXEMPTIVE RELIEF APPLICATIONS

AND

IN THE MATTER OF

GUARDIAN GROUP OF FUNDS LTD.

(the Filer)

AND

IN THE MATTER OF

THE FUNDS LISTED IN SCHEDULE "A"

(the Existing Funds)

 

MRRS Decision Document

Background

The local securities regulatory authority or regulator (the Decision Maker) in each of the Jurisdictions has received an application from the Filer, on behalf of the Existing Funds and each mutual fund hereafter created and managed by the Filer or any of the affiliates of the Filer (the Future Funds, and together with the Existing Funds, the Funds), for a decision under the securities legislation of the Jurisdictions (the Legislation) exempting the Funds from the following requirements of the Legislation, subject to certain terms and conditions:

(a) the requirement contained in subsection 2.6(a) of National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds (NI 81-102) prohibiting a mutual fund from providing a security interest over a mutual fund's assets;

(b) the requirement contained in subsection 2.6(c) of NI 81-102 prohibiting a mutual fund from selling securities short; and

(c) the requirement contained in subsection 6.1(1) of NI 81-102 prohibiting a mutual fund from depositing any part of a mutual fund's assets with an entity other than the mutual fund's custodian.

Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) together shall be referred to as the Requested Relief.

Under the Mutual Reliance Review System (MRRS) for Exemption Applications:

(a) the Ontario Securities Commission is the principal regulator for this application; and

(b) this MRRS decision document evidences the decision of each Decision Maker.

Interpretation

Defined terms contained in National Instrument 14-101 Definitions have the same meaning in this decision unless they are defined in this decision.

Representations

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

1. The Filer is a corporation established under the laws of Ontario and is the trustee and manager of the Existing Funds.

2. Each Fund is or will be an open-end mutual fund trust or a class of shares of a mutual fund corporation established under the laws of the Province of Ontario of which the Filer, or an affiliate of the Filer, is or will be the manager.

3. Each Fund is or will be a reporting issuer in all of the provinces and territories of Canada and distributes or will distribute securities under a simplified prospectus and annual information form and be otherwise subject to NI 81-102.

4. Except for specific exemptions or approvals granted by the relevant Decision Makers, the investment practices of each Fund will comply in all respects with the requirements of Part 2 of NI 81-102.

5. The Filer proposes that each Fund be authorized to engage in a limited, prudent and disciplined amount of short selling. The Filer is of the view that the Funds could benefit from the implementation and execution of a controlled and limited short selling strategy. This strategy would complement the Funds' primary discipline of buying securities with the expectation that they will appreciate in market value.

6. Short sales will be made consistent with each Fund's investment objectives.

7. In order to effect a short sale, a Fund will borrow securities from either its custodian or a dealer (in either case, the "Borrowing Agent"), which Borrowing Agent may be acting either as principal for its own account or as agent for other lenders of securities.

8. Each Fund will implement the following controls when conducting a short sale:

(a) securities will be sold short for cash, with the Fund assuming the obligation to return to the Borrowing Agent the securities borrowed to effect the short sale;

(b) the short sale will be effected through market facilities through which the securities sold short are normally bought and sold;

(c) the Fund will receive cash for the securities sold short within normal trading settlement periods for the market in which the short sale is effected;

(d) the securities sold short will be liquid securities that:

(i) are listed and posted for trading on a stock exchange; and

(A) the issuer of the security has a market capitalization of not less than CDN $300 million, or the equivalent thereof, of such security at the time the short sale is effected; or

(B) the Fund has pre-arranged to borrow for the purpose of such sale; or

(ii) are bonds, debentures or other evidences of indebtedness of or guaranteed by the Government of Canada or any province or territory of Canada or the Government of the United States of America;

(e) at the time securities of a particular issuer are sold short:

(i) the aggregate market value of all securities of that issuer sold short by the Fund will not exceed 5% of the total net assets of the Fund; and

(ii) the Fund will place a "stop-loss" order with a dealer to immediately purchase for the Fund an equal number of the same securities if the trading price of the securities exceeds 120% (or such lesser percentage as the Manager may determine) of the price at which the securities were sold short;

(f) the Fund will deposit Fund assets with the Borrowing Agent as security in connection with the short sale transaction;

(g) the Fund will keep proper books and records of all short sales and Fund assets deposited with Borrowing Agents as security;

(h) the Fund will develop written policies and procedures for the conduct of short sales prior to conducting any short sales; and

(i) the Fund will provide disclosure in its prospectus of the short selling strategies and the details of this exemptive relief prior to implementing the short selling strategy.

Decision

Each of the Decision Makers is satisfied that the test contained in the Legislation that provides the Decision Maker with the jurisdiction to make the Decision has been met. The decision of the Decision Makers under the Legislation is that the Requested Relief is granted provided that in respect of each Fund:

1. the aggregate market value of all securities sold short by the Fund will not exceed 10% of the net assets of the Fund on a daily marked-to-market basis;

2. the Fund will hold "cash cover" (as defined in NI 81-102) in an amount, including the Fund assets deposited with Borrowing Agents as security in connection with short sale transactions, that is at least 150% of the aggregate market value of all securities sold short by the Fund on a daily marked-to-market basis;

3. no proceeds from short sales by the Fund will be used by the Fund to purchase long positions in securities other than cash cover;

4. the Fund will maintain appropriate internal controls regarding its short sales including written policies and procedures, risk management controls and proper books and records;

5. any short sales made by the Fund will be subject to compliance with the investment objectives of the Fund;

6. the Requested Relief will not apply to a Fund that is classified as a money market fund or a short-term income fund;

7. for short sale transactions in Canada, every dealer that holds Fund assets as security in connection with short sale transactions by the Fund shall be a registered dealer in Canada and a member of a self-regulatory organization that is a participating member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund;

8. for short sale transactions outside of Canada, every dealer that holds Fund assets as security in connection with short sale transactions by the Fund shall:

(a) be a member of a stock exchange and, as a result, be subject to a regulatory audit; and

(b) have a net worth in excess of the equivalent of $50 million determined from its most recent audited financial statements that have been made public;

9. except where the Borrowing Agent is the Fund's custodian, when the Fund deposits Fund assets with a Borrowing Agent as security in connection with a short sale transaction, the amount of Fund assets deposited with the Borrowing Agent does not, when aggregated with the amount of Fund assets already held by the Borrowing Agent as security for outstanding short sale transactions of the Fund, exceed 10% of the total assets of the Fund, taken at market value as at the time of the deposit;

10. the security interest provided by the Fund over any of its assets that is required to enable the Fund to effect short sale transactions is made in accordance with industry practice for that type of transaction and relates only to obligations arising under such short sale transactions;

11. prior to conducting any short sales, the Fund discloses in its simplified prospectus a description of: (i) short selling, (ii) how the Fund intends to engage in short selling, (iii) the risks associated with short selling, and (iv) in the Investment Strategy section of the simplified prospectus, the Fund's strategy and this exemptive relief;

12. prior to conducting any short sales, the Fund discloses in its annual information form the following information:

(a) that there are written policies and procedures in place that set out the objectives and goals for short selling and the risk management procedures applicable to short selling;

(b) who is responsible for setting and reviewing the policies and procedures referred to in the preceding paragraph, how often the policies and procedures are reviewed, and the extent and nature of the involvement of the board of directors of the Manager in the risk management process;

(c) whether there are trading limits or other controls on short selling in place and who is responsible for authorizing the trading and placing limits or other controls on the trading;

(d) whether there are individuals or groups that monitor the risks independent of those who trade; and

(e) whether risk measurement procedures or simulations are used to test the portfolio under stress conditions;

13. prior to conducting any short sales, the Fund has provided to its securityholders not less than 60 days' written notice that discloses the Fund's intent to begin short selling transactions and the disclosure required in the Fund's simplified prospectus and annual information form as outlined in paragraphs 11 and 12 above, or the Fund's initial simplified prospectus and annual information form and each renewal thereof has included such disclosure; and

14. the Requested Relief shall terminate upon the coming into force of any legislation or rule of the Decision Makers dealing with matters referred to in subsections 2.6(a), 2.6(c) and 6.1(1) of NI 81-102.

"Leslie Byberg"
Manager, Investment Funds Branch
Ontario Securities Commission

 

SCHEDULE A

GGOF CANADIAN BOND FUND
GGOF FLOATING RATE INCOME FUND
GGOF GLOBAL BOND FUND
GGOF HIGH YIELD BOND FUND
GGOF MONTHLY DIVIDEND FUND LTD.
GGOF MONTHLY HIGH INCOME FUND
GGOF MONTHLY HIGH INCOME FUND II
GGOF AMERICAN EQUITY FUND LTD.
GGOF CANADIAN GROWTH FUND LTD.
GGOF CANADIAN LARGE CAP EQUITY FUND
GGOF DIVIDEND GROWTH FUND
GGOF EMERGING MARKETS FUND
GGOF ENTERPRISE FUND
GGOF EUROPEAN EQUITY FUND
GGOF GLOBAL ABSOLUTE RETURN FUND
GGOF GLOBAL DIVIDEND GROWTH FUND
GGOF GLOBAL EQUITY FUND
GGOF GLOBAL REAL ESTATE FUND
GGOF GLOBAL SMALL CAP FUND
GGOF GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY FUND
GGOF JAPANESE EQUITY FUND
GGOF RESOURCE FUND
GGOF ASIAN GROWTH AND INCOME FUND
GGOF CANADIAN BALANCED FUND
GGOF CANADIAN DIVERSIFIED MONTHLY INCOME FUND
GGOF GLOBAL DIVERSIFIED FUND
GGOF SMALL CAP GROWTH AND INCOME FUND
GGOF U.S. DIVERSIFIED MONTHLY INCOME FUND
GGOF INCOME SOLUTION
GGOF CONSERVATIVE SOLUTION
GGOF BALANCED SOLUTION
GGOF GROWTH SOLUTION
GGOF AGGRESSIVE GROWTH SOLUTION