OBSI plans to improve resolution process

Canada’s financial services dispute resolution service is planning to test a new process for resolving certain complaints more quickly, along with efforts to improve the way it communicates with the industry.

The Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) on Friday released the results of a survey that canvassed the banks and investment firms that it serves to assess their experience with the service. As a result of the feedback it received, the organization is planning a number of operational changes, including an initiative to improve the resolution process for certain complaints.

“We believe straightforward complaints can be handled in a timelier manner,” OBSI says in a statement released Friday. To that end, it says, it will be piloting an “early resolution” process in the autumn.

“While respecting the importance of a thorough and fair investigation,” the statement continues, “appropriate cases will be handled in a streamlined manner with the objective of resolving complaints sooner.”

Additionally, OBSI says it is now obtaining electronic account information from firms “to make our loss calculation process more timely and accurate. We also are requesting more specific documents from clients during the intake stage to improve the timeliness of our investigation process once we start investigating.”

The agency is planning a variety of other changes, primarily efforts to enhance communication with the industry. For example, in the autumn, it “will be piloting an information and advice service to answer inquiries from participating firms about our complaint-handling process, investigation methods and approach to particular issues.”

OBSI also will be providing firms with timely information about the status of cases, overhauling its website, providing more information to firms about how its fees are calculated and launching a quarterly newsletter to provide firms with more information on complaint data, trends and developments at OBSI.

OBSI says it will be making the industry survey an annual exercise, which will be carried out in November and December each year.

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