Regulator strengthens consumer protection by clarifying expectations
Toronto, ON (Oct. 1, 2018) – Following industry consultations and a wider public consultation earlier this year, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released its Treating Financial Services Consumers Fairly guideline.
Applying to four of FSCO’s regulated sectors – insurance, credit union/caisse populaire, loan and trust, and mortgage brokering – the Guideline ensures a common understanding between FSCO and its Licensees about what it means to treat consumers fairly throughout the life cycle of a financial product.
Licensees can use the Guideline to enhance their policies and procedures, and apply its eight principles to their day-to-day activities.
FSCO expects Licensees to adapt the Guideline based on the nature, scope and size of their respective businesses. Licensees can assess their current practices against the Guideline, and develop plans to address any gaps.
Much of what FSCO expects from Licensees in terms of the fair treatment of consumers is contained, directly or indirectly, in existing legislation or is part of accepted industry best practices.
However, treating financial services consumers fairly is not just about the law. It is about an ethical way of conducting business, and ensuring a corporate culture that places the interests of the consumer at the centre of all business decisions.
FSCO’s Guideline aligns with international standards and with the Conduct of Insurance Business and Fair Treatment of Customers guidance recently released by the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators and the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations.
“FSCO takes its consumer protection mandate seriously,” said Anatol Monid, Executive Director of the Licensing and Market Conduct Division at FSCO. “Licensees can use this comprehensive Guideline to strengthen their policies and procedures, and ensure a corporate culture that prioritizes the interests of consumers.”
“FSCO’s Guideline is consistent with the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario’s Code of Conduct, as well as our 2015 Fair Treatment of Customers Guideline,” said Patrick Ballantyne, CEO of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario. “We look forward to continuing efforts with FSCO to achieve broad industry implementation of fair treatment practices.”
FSCO’s legislative mandate is to provide regulatory services that protect the public interest and enhance public confidence in the sectors it regulates. FSCO regulates the insurance sector; pension plans; loan and trust companies; credit unions and caisses populaires; the mortgage brokering sector; co-operative corporations in Ontario; and service providers who invoice auto insurers for statutory accident benefits claims. FSCO is accountable to the Minister of Finance.
Source: Financial Services Commission of Ontario