The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) was established to consolidate and strengthen oversight of consumer protection measures in the federally regulated financial sector, and to expand consumer education and financial literacy activities so that Canadians have the appropriate information and financial skills they need to make informed financial decisions and actively participate in and strengthen the financial sector.
FCAC is an independent federal government agency established under the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act (FCAC Act). It fulfills the roles listed below. In 2010–11, the Government of Canada expanded the Agency's mandate to include the items in italics.
These quarterly financial statements have been prepared by management as required by Section 65.1 of the Financial Administration Act and in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), using the accrual basis of accounting.
FCAC historically prepared its annual financial statements in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles for publicly accountable Canadian reporting entities. Effective April 1, 2011, FCAC adopted IFRS. Certain comparative figures presented in the Financial Highlights section below have been restated to conform to the presentation adopted in fiscal year 2011-2012.
These quarterly financial statements have not been subject to an external audit or review.
FCAC recovers its costs from several revenue sources. FCAC is funded mainly through asset-based, premium-based or transaction-based assessments on the financial entities it supervises.
The accompanying quarterly financial statements reflect FCAC's legislated authority to spend assessments and revenues per Section 13(2) of the FCAC Act as well as any authorities granted by Parliament and used by FCAC. FCAC receives an annual appropriation of $ 2 million pursuant to Section 13(3) of the FCAC Act to support efforts to improve financial literacy in Canada. Such funding is presented as Government Funding in the Statement of Operations, Other Comprehensive Income and Deficit and the amount is consistent with the terms and conditions approved by the Treasury Board.
FCAC’s total expenses for the nine months ended December 31, 2011 were $8.66 million, a $761,700 increase, or 9.64% increase from the same period last year. This increase is primarily due to an increase in human resource costs of $546,500 and additional investments in accommodation and technology infrastructure.
Accommodations costs were $765,600, a $277,800 increase due to facilities related expenses of leasing additional space, and amortization of building improvements and furniture and equipment investments to accommodate the additional staff for the expanded mandate.
Information Management/Technology (IM/IT) expenses were $540,100, a $99,800 increase from the same period last year. The entire increase relates to the implementation of long-term Web Renewal and Content Management System projects necessary to support our evolving supervisory, and financial education activities. These were in large part deferred to this fiscal year, and do not relate to the expanded mandate. To cover the expenses of these two projects, a reallocation of funds not associated with the expanded mandate was made during the first half of the year.
The increases above were, by and large, offset by reduced Professional Services costs (lower by $166,100 compared to the first nine months of fiscal year 2010-11). The key driver of the reduction was the termination of the memorandum of understanding with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation in July 2011, as the Consumer Contact Centre was repatriated within FCAC’s premises.
The cost increase related to human resources is, for a large part, the result of FCAC’s expanded mandate which began in Q2 of fiscal year 2010-11. The federal government expanded our mandate by giving FCAC new responsibilities, namely:
In addition, the repatriation of the Consumer Contact Centre also contributed to the increase in human resources costs. The positions that have been filled account, by and large, for the variance between the nine months ended December 31, 2011 vs. December 31, 2010.
FCAC’s total expenses for the nine months ended December 31, 2011 totalled $8.66 million or 99.5% of its budgeted expenses for the period, compared to 96.0% for the same period last year.
The figures in the table above compare the actual expenditures to the revised budget as at November 3, 2011. Following the 2011-12 mid-year review, the 2011-12 budget was reduced from $13.4 million to 13.0 million.
FCAC’s total expenses for the three months ended December 31, 2011 were $2.98 million, a $216,900 increase, or 7.86% increase from the same period last year. This increase is primarily due to an increase in human resource costs, accommodation and professional services of $69,200, $74,500 and $134,700 respectively.
Human resources costs increase was, for the most part, related to the expanded mandate as described in section entitled “Financial Review and Highlights - Year to Date Results“. In addition, maternity and paternity related costs largely increased the human resources costs in Q3 of fiscal year 2011-12 vs. Q3 of fiscal year 2010-11.
As stated in the section entitled “Financial Review and Highlights - Year to Date Results” a large portion of the accommodation expenses increase was due to the expanded mandate. In addition, there was also an increase for the off-site storage space related to printed educational materials.
The increase in professional services costs is mainly due to the different 2011-12 projects’ timelines, when compared to 2010-11. Some projects that span two fiscal years and for which some delays were encountered in fiscal year 2010-11, are advancing as planned in fiscal year 2011-12 (e.g.: Adult Education Resource).
FCAC’s total expenses for the three months ended December 31, 2011 represent 99.0% of budget for the period, compared to 89.0% for the same period last year.
In addition to its revenues from asset-based, premium-based or transaction-based assessments on the financial entities it supervises, FCAC was granted a parliamentary appropriation of $2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 (2010-2011- $2 million) to support efforts to improve financial literacy in Canada. In the quarter ended December 31, 2011 FCAC used $0.51 million (2010 - $0.44 million) of this appropriation. For the nine months ended December 31, 2011, FCAC used 1.21$ million (2010 - $1.06) of this appropriation.
Business risks result from significant conditions, events, circumstances, actions, or inactions that could adversely affect FCAC's ability to achieve its objectives and execute its strategies. Business risk is broader than the risk of material misstatement of the financial statements. Business risks may eventually have financial consequences and, therefore, an effect on the financial statements.
The environment in which FCAC operates presents an array of risks to the achievement of its mandate and objectives. While many of these challenges are consistently present, the extent to which they present a risk to FCAC's objectives varies, depending on economic and financial conditions and the financial industry environment and its impact on financial consumers. FCAC's ability to achieve its mandate depends on the timeliness and effectiveness with which it identifies, evaluates, prioritizes, and develops initiatives to address areas where its exposure is greatest.
FCAC's risk management process divides risks into external and internal categories. The external risk category consists of economic and financial conditions, the financial industry environment, financial consumers' financial situation, FCAC's legal environment and catastrophic events. External risks arise from events that FCAC cannot influence, but must be able to monitor and respond to in order to mitigate the impact. The internal risk category consists of risks that can broadly be categorized as people, processes, systems, and culture and relationships with partners.
Despite the fragile international financial environment, the Canadian financial system remains relatively strong, with domestic financial markets functioning well and the capital and liquidity positions of Canada's major banks showing continuing strength.
The main domestic source of risk arises from the financial position of Canadian households, which may leave them more vulnerable to adverse events. FCAC continues to monitor financial consumers' indebtedness in order to provide services and tools to help them understand and better manage their financial situation.
FCAC developed its Corporate Risk Profile and provides regular updates to the Management Committee and Audit Committee. Risks are reviewed periodically and monitored. FCAC's Corporate Risk Profile process has identified several key risks to the achievement of its mandate and objectives, as follows:
FCAC's success is dependent upon having employees with highly specialized knowledge, skills and experience to supervise financial institutions and payment card network operators, identify significant compliance issues, and initiate and/or develop financial education material to fill identified consumer knowledge and information gaps.
Increasingly complex financial products, changes to regulations and addition of new regulations and the supervision of a new group of financial entities also mean that FCAC needs to be able to attract, motivate, develop and retain skilled people. In addition, increases in hiring over the last two years due to expanded mandate and normal turnover rate mean that a continuous learning environment is necessary to enable employees to meet the challenges of this constantly changing environment.
Enabling technology and a robust, secure and well-supported Information Technology (IT) infrastructure are key success factors to FCAC in meeting its mandate. FCAC must ensure that the necessary information systems and infrastructure are in place to effectively support its supervisory and financial education activities. These systems are required on an ongoing basis in response to a complex and rapidly changing environment. There is a need to manage the risk of making IM/IT changes coinciding within a dynamic business. Implementation issues related to the new IM/IT strategy are being closely monitored and evaluated.
While FCAC's mandate is national in scope, it does not have a physical presence across Canada to help deliver on its mandate. As such, FCAC's strategy is to work and rely on a diverse network of partners and stakeholders from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to advance key components of the Agency's program activities. If FCAC does not develop sound, strategic, credible alliances in support of its programs, the Agency's ability to achieve its objectives could be directly or indirectly impaired. Therefore, results might not meet the commitments or expectations of stakeholders, partners' and/or FCAC.
FCAC formalizes agreements with its key partners, stakeholders and external consultants that outline agreed-upon outcomes, with the aim of clarifying and documenting the processes and results to be achieved for a particular project or activity.
Financial risks, primarily liquidity risk and credit risk, are closely managed and continue to be rated low. Please refer to Note 16 of the financial statements for a full analysis of the financial risks that FCAC is exposed to.
In Budget 2010 the federal government announced that the operating budgets of departments would be frozen at their 2010-2011 levels for the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, excluding the resources required for the new areas of responsibilities. In response to this announcement, FCAC has taken measures to operate within its 2010-11 annual allotment, excluding the funding required to execute on its expanded mandate.
There have been no significant changes in relation to operations, personnel and programs during the period ended December 31, 2011.
In 2010-2011 FCAC's legislated mandate was expanded to include the supervision of payment card network operators. In addition, a research function was created to monitor and evaluate trends and emerging issues that may have an impact on consumers of financial products and services.
As indicated above, this resulted in larger staff complement and the necessary physical and technological resources to accommodate them.
Chief Financial Officer
February 22, 2012