From the Regulators

Memo outlines architecture for ongoing relationships among regulators and the OmbudServices

By James Langton |

The Canadian Securities Administrators has published a memorandum setting out a framework for ongoing collaboration among financial regulators, both federal and provincial, and the OmbudServices that make up the Financial Services OmbudsNetwork.

The FSON includes the Canadian Life and Health Insurance OmbudService, General Insurance OmbudService, and the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments.

The memo identifies the importance of effective consumer dispute resolution to the Canadian financial services market. It sets forth the basic architecture for ongoing relationships among regulators and the OmbudServices and the premises that underline the structure.

It also contains guidelines endorsed by a Dispute Resolution Committee which has been established by the Joint Forum of Financial Market Regulators and Finance Canada in consultation with the OmbudServices. The guidelines identify principles of organizational structure and operating practices which are important to regulators. They are designed to ensure that third party dispute resolution systems, including the OmbudServices, fulfill the public interest objectives of complaint resolution.

It notes that the OmbudServices will be subject to external review from time to time to assess their achievement of these guidelines. The external review will include the OmbudServices’ own governance, performance measurement, complaint handling and other operating standards for measuring their achievement of the guidelines.

“The guidelines are not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive. However, taken together they provide an integrated best practices framework, drawing in significant measure on the work of the International Standards Organization,” it says. “While it is recognized that an OmbudService may not meet all of the Implementation Guidelines all of the time, the DR Committee expects each of the OmbudServices to be structured and function in a way which will fully achieve the Objectives stated in each guideline.”

These guidelines will be reviewed on a periodic basis by the DR Committee in consultation with the boards of the OmbudServices.