Disclosure rules require that companies report all material information about their business and financial affairs to the public in a timely and fair manner. These rules aim to ensure that investors are given equal access to material information.
IIROC monitors the timely disclosure of material information by companies trading on marketplaces that have retained IIROC as their regulation service provider. Media releases issued by listed companies with material information are reviewed by IIROC surveillance staff before being released on the newswires or the company’s website. If a news release is unclear or overly-promotional, IIROC may ask the company to revise it. When surveillance staff believe that the information is material enough to significantly impact the price of the security they might issue a “trading halt.” A trading halt is a temporary pause in trading to allow the market to properly absorb the information. It is based on the principle that all investors should have the same timely access to important company information.
The reactivation of trading after a halt is called a “trade resumption.”
In a given year, IIROC coordinates more than 1,000 halts and 750 resumptions.
If IIROC staff notice erratic price moves in stocks, they will contact the issuer to see if it has information to explain the movement. Staff may ask the company to issue a news release if they believe that material information is leaking into the market or if they believe rumours are affecting the stock price.
When a company fails to make timely disclosure of material information, the provincial securities regulators can issue a Cease Trade Order (CTO) which stops the trading of the company’s stock. Once issued, a CTO remains in effect until the company meets its disclosure obligations. more