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Banking regulations already strict enough: Sun Life CEO

The CEO of Sun Life Financial Inc. opposes planned new global bank taxes many countries are considering to crack down on the financial sector after the Wall Street crisis helped spark the recession.

The CEO of Sun Life Financial Inc. opposes planned new global bank taxes many countries are considering to crack down on the financial sector after the Wall Street crisis helped spark the recession.

Don Stewart told shareholders at the insurer’s annual meeting yesterday that proposed new international financial regulations could unduly punish already well regulated Canadian financial companies.

“It would indeed be ironic if Canada, a country which came through the financial crisis better than most, was to find itself at a disadvantage on account of new international rules originating from outside our country,” Stewart said, adding his voice to mounting opposition at home ahead of international economic summits hosted by Canada next month.

Regulators in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world want to tax big banks and impose stricter lending and trading rules to prevent future bank collapses that might trigger another financial crisis.

They argue that cracking down on risky market practices will also cushion countries and consumers from economic turmoil and volatile stock markets.

In a related issue, Stewart said that while Canada's financial institutions remained relatively healthy during the 2008-2009 recession and stock market fall, many Canadians saw a steep drop in the value of their retirement investments.

“If this problem isn't addressed, individuals and families will experience real hardship in future as more people outlive their retirement savings, said Stewart.