Personal Investor: B.C. regulators get legal teeth against scammers
British Columbia is joining the list of jurisdictions throwing the full weight of the law against investment scammers. The province is introducing amendments to the Securities Act that will allow the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) to enforce penalties as court orders against investment dealers who wrong investors.
The move will give IIROC and MFDA the ability to file decisions directly with a court of law. Filing in court means that they will be able to pursue outstanding fines, and order a person to comply with decisions, made by both self-regulatory organizations.
Until now, regulators had no direct legal backing behind their decisions in the province. British Columbia joins major securities regulators in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta in increasing investors’ legal muscle. In Alberta, IIROC has reported an increase in fine collection rates since being given the ability to file court orders.
The move comes at a time when more Canadians are managing their own retirement savings, which are exposed to the risks of the broader market.
If you feel you have been wronged by an investment dealer, the Ontario Securities Commission offers this advice before contacting regulators:
- Start with the person or firm you dealt with. Be clear about what went wrong and when. State the outcome you expect (for example, getting your account corrected or your money back.)
- If you are not satisfied, ask about the firm’s complaint process and follow the suggested steps. This could involve contacting a manager or the firm’s compliance department.
- Put your complaint in writing. Be sure to keep notes of who you spoke to and what was discussed.