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What is a “financial portal”? Is it regulated?

Financial portals are web sites that provide financial and market information and advice concerning investing in securities. Information on these sites typically includes news on industry trends and sectors, company and mutual fund research, earnings estimates, news alerts and individual stock assessments. Most financial portals have on-line discussion forums that focus on particular stocks or industries.

Financial portals are not currently regulated but recently the Ontario Securities Commission, in one of its cases, did consider whether these types of portals are engaging in registrable activities (as in promoting and selling securities). For the company in question, the OSC did provide an exemption from registration under specific conditions. The most recent five-year review of securities laws in Ontario, however, recommends that the OSC continue to monitor the use of financial portals.