For the most part, financial services institutions are behaving themselves in how they treat their clients, according to the federal Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's (FCAC) latest annual report, which was published on Tuesday.
The FCAC's report indicates that the agency has observed, "strong market conduct" among federally regulated financial services firms, such as banks and insurers. Specifically, the FCAC's compliance efforts uncovered "no major or systemic concerns."
During the past year, the FCAC investigated 708 potential breaches of federal legislation, regulations, voluntary codes of conduct and public commitments, the report states, noting that any compliance issues that were uncovered, "were addressed in a timely and effective manner."
The FCAC report states that as a result of the agency's various enforcement tools, including 18 action plans, firms improved their conduct, such as enhancing their credit card statements or other disclosures for clarity; improving training for frontline staff; and ensuring that internal documentation practices help avoid compliance breaches.
"In 2015–16, we strengthened our capacity to research and analyze trends in financial consumer issues. We also made great strides in updating the tools we use to promote, monitor and enforce responsible market conduct," says Brigitte Goulard, deputy commissioner with the FCAC, in a statement.
The FCAC's report also notes that the agency received 345 complaints about financial services firms that fell within its mandate during the year, but that it also fielded 4,236 complaints that were outside its purview.
In addition, the report details the FCAC's efforts to enhance financial literacy, improve industry engagement and enhance consumer awareness of their rights and responsibilities, among its other strategic priorities.
"The proliferation of financial products and services makes it all the more important that the FCAC continues to hone its supervisory and financial education efforts in support of consumer protection," says Lucie Tedesco, commissioner of the FCAC, in a statement.
FCAC publishes its 2015-2016 Annual Report (CNW Group/Financial Consumer Agency of Canada)