OSC to host investor town hall

By Doug Watt | April 22, 2005 | Last updated on April 22, 2005
2 min read

(April 22, 2005) The Ontario Securities Commission is staging an investor town hall at the CBC Broadcasting Centre in downtown Toronto on May 31.

The event will provide an opportunity for dialogue between consumers and regulators, including the OSC, the IDA, the MFDA and the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, the commission said in a release. “Investors will learn how the current investor complaint and arbitration mechanisms work, and have the chance to suggest improvements to these systems.”

“We are creating an opportunity for consumers of financial services to share their experiences — good and bad,” said David Brown, who could be making one of his last public appearances as OSC chair. Brown is stepping down at the end of June. “The voice of the retail investor — Main Street — is too often not heard by Bay Street,” Brown added. “We want to correct that.”

The panel, to be moderated by CBC reporter Mike Hornbrook, will include Brown, IDA president Joe Oliver, OBSI’s Mike Lauber, the MFDA’s Larry Waite and Stan Buell of the Small Investor Protection Association. Each panelist will give brief remarks then take questions and comments from the audience.

Investor advocates are already rallying the troops in an attempt to have their myriad of concerns heard by the country’s top regulators. “Investors who have a beef with the way the regulatory system functions, or with the way they have been treated by the industry or regulators should speak up,” says Buell. “Please ensure you send us your questions unless you plan to attend and can ask them from the floor,” Buell added in a message to SIPA members.

Advocate Joe Killoran — a thorn in the side of the country’s securities watchdogs for years — says he wants to find out if regulators are making any progress in their investigation of sales practices at Assante in the late 1990s.

Industry veteran Larry Elford, another vocal industry critic, is skeptical the town hall will make much of a difference, considering Brown is a “lame duck,” with less than two months remaining in his post. And Lauber is resigning as head of OBSI at the same time.

“I despise pseudo-consultation,” Elford writes on his website. “I despise people who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. And I am not alone. I have dealt with literally hundreds of abused small investors over the years — from coast to coast — many elderly or disabled — and their stories are the same. SROs are in the business of blowing smoke, not addressing valid complaints.”

The town hall, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is open to the public. Admission is free. The CBC Atrium holds about 700 people, says OSC spokesperson Eric Pelletier. Despite the venue, the town hall will not be broadcast over the airwaves, but a webcast is likely, Pelletier says.

Filed by Doug Watt, Advisor.ca, doug.watt@advisor.rogers.com


Doug Watt