In the wake of new guidance on treating customers fairly from the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO), the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) on Friday issued its own version of similar guidance.
Last week, CCIR and the CISRO released joint guidance for insurers and distributors on the subject of ensuring that clients are treated fairly throughout the industry.
FSCO has published its own guidance that aims to clarify the regulator’s expectations for the industry.
The Treating Financial Services Consumers Fairly Guideline clarifies FSCO’s own expectations for the industry. It applies to four FSCO-regulated sectors: insurance, credit union/caisse populaire, loan and trust, and mortgage brokering.
It “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,” FSCO says in a news release.
As with the new guidance from the CCIR and CISRO, the Ontario regulator says that its guidance is designed to be flexible and principles-based, which allows firms to adapt its concepts to their particular business.
“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,” says FSCO.
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 takes its consumer protection mandate seriously. Licensees can use this comprehensive guideline to strengthen their policies and procedures, and ensure a corporate culture that prioritizes the interests of consumers,” says Anatol Monid, executive director, licensing and market conduct division, FSCO, in a statement.
“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. We look forward to continuing efforts with FSCO to achieve broad industry implementation of fair treatment practices,” adds Patrick Ballantyne, CEO of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario.