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Canadian Context of Financial Electronic Records

Start Date: 2009-05-01 | End Date: 2010-05-01

Project Description:

Insufficient understanding and control of the books and records of financial institutions is at the root of many currents risks faced by banking institutions, their clients and the financial system. For example, compliance with privacy laws is extremely complex for financial institutions with global footprints as these laws primarily relate to specific countries and often conflict with one another. Data loss and leakage can lead to financial crimes, such as identity theft. Lack of transparency around the composition and valuation of financial products can lead to the mispricing of risk and give rise to imbalances in banks’ balance sheets or, in severe cases such as seen in recent months, financial crises. 


Given the growing number of books and records-related risks faced by financial institutions, it would be natural to think that a great deal has been researched about these risks and their impact; however, this is not the case. This study seeks to understand the context of record creation, keeping and communication in the Canadian financial system as a means to understanding how the system relies upon and is affected by books and records. 


To gain this understanding, we propose to use a methodology guided by Grounded Theory using NVIVO qualitative analysis software to collect, code and analyze research data related to the Canadian financial system. The research data will be collected from workshops and interviews with Canadian experts from diverse disciplines participating in the financial system together with relevant internal, legal and industry texts. From the data collection and analysis, we will produce a high-level reference model of the Canadian financial system and the books and records upon which it relies that will be similar to the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (see 


With a clear understanding of the context of Canadian financial electronic records it will be possible to lay the foundation to iteratively build up and validate the reference model and use the data to answer a range of other important research questions related to issues in the management of financial electronic records, such as:

  • What records and information are needed to support critical elements of the financial system, and how should these be managed?
  • What are the records and information-related risk factors that can destabilize financial institutions and the financial system and how can these risk factors be mitigated?
  • What management controls over books and records are needed to achieve greater transparency in the operation of the financial system?
  • What is the link between how records are created, managed and communicated in the financial system and problems of information asymmetry causing market distortions?


Finding the answers to these questions will support the identification of policy interventions needed to achieve more effective internal operations at financial institutions, a more effective regulatory framework, and improved transparency, customer protection, and financial system stability. 

Principal Investigator: Victoria L. Lemieux

Research Assistants(s): Sherry Xie, Thomas Dang, Elaine Goh, Lior Limonad

Funded by:The University of British Columbia, Hampton Grant