Michael Garellek

Michael Garellek

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Michael serves as the head of the Financial Services Regulatory Practice for Canada and is a Transactional Partner in Baker McKenzie's Toronto office.

His practice focuses on financial regulation and compliance for fintechs, financial institutions and market participants and their business in Canada.

When not acting for clients, Michael lectures students at the University of Montreal on corporate and securities laws and in preparing for case competitions. He is a co-author of the Annotated Bank Act (2023 edition) and the Jurisclasseur en valeurs mobilieres, a leading publication on securities laws.

Michael is a chartered professional accountant and has worked as an inspector with the Autorité des marches financiers (AMF) and an auditor with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

Practice Focus

Michael provides regulatory guidance to financial industry registrants and their representatives whether as a new entrant, a branch or an established player in Canada. He will help you apply Canadian rules and best practices. Michael advises clients on legal issues, including those relating to insurance, banking, AML/FT, privacy, securities and OTC swaps and derivatives, among others. In the areas of securities, banking and insurance, Michael will assist you to make the required applications to regulators including the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and securities regulators such as the Ontario Securities Commission and the AMF.

Michael similarly advises financial institution clients and their service providers on embedded financial products and payments.

Michael's transactional and advisory work covers a variety of deal types both public and private, including transactions on carbon markets. He also assists clients with meeting regulatory requirements concerning authorization for public contracting and the greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system.

In enforcement matters, Michael represents clients including those subject to examination, investigation and prosecution by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and other regulatory authorities.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Acted for State Farm in its CAD 1.6 billion sale of its Canadian insurance and related financial services businesses to the Desjardins Group, and the related CAD 450 million investment by State Farm in the insurance operating companies of the Desjardins Group.
  • Provided legal opinions on AML/FT and foreign asset control rules and compliance.
  • Applications to regulatory sandboxes relating to crypto asset trading platforms, fractional trading of securities and insurance distribution models.
  • Acted for foreign finance companies, insurance companies and warranty providers seeking advice on suitcase banking, licensing and doing business in Canada and Quebec.
  • Acted for the Banque Transatlantique, Credit Mutuel/CIC and the BMCE Bank in the opening of their foreign bank representative offices.
  • Acted for TradeZero Canada Securities ULC for its licensing as a securities dealer and membership with IIROC.
  • Acted for an asset manager based in Brazil for its licensing as a portfolio manager in Canada.
  • Acted for reporting issuers on securities matters and continuous disclosure requirements.
  • Acted for firms seeking various government level authorizations and registrations for public contracting, money-services businesses and cap-and-trade system in Quebec.
  • Assisted a financial institution in its settlement with regulators related to the fallout from the global financial crisis and the investigations into the Canadian Asset-Backed Commercial Paper market.

Professional Honors

  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2022
  • The Legal 500 Canada 2022 Next Generation Partner
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2021
  •  Acritas Star 2020 and 2019

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Editorial board of the Banking and Finance Law Review
  • Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (Quebec CPA Order)


  • Quebec~Canada (2009)


  • University of Montreal (LLB) (2008)
  • McGill University (Diploma in Public Accountancy) (2000)
  • McGill University (B.Comm. - Hons. Accounting and Economics) (1998)


  • English
  • French