This article was updated on Dec. 23 to include comments from Greatway Financial.
Following enforcement actions commenced in October, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has ordered Calgary-based Greatway Financial Inc. to deliver revised training to its contracted agents.
In a compliance order issued today, FSRA stated that Greatway had revised its training in response to the October enforcement actions and that the managing general agency would deliver that revised training to all its agents before March 31, 2023. All new agents must also take the revised training.
FSRA alleged in an Oct. 14 notice of proposal that Greatway’s mandatory training teaches life agents to sell overfunded universal life policies using an insured retirement plan to all consumers, regardless of their financial circumstances. FSRA also alleged that Greatway misrepresented the strategy as a savings rather than insurance strategy, and didn’t communicate the risks.
Thursday’s compliance order also requires Greatway to send its universal life policyholders information to assist them in assessing the appropriateness of it for their circumstances. Greatway must also support policyholders who raise concerns in resolving them.
“It is vital consumers receive information regarding life insurance policies which is accurate and appropriate,” said Elissa Sinha, FSRA’s director of litigation and enforcement, in a release. “This compliance order ensures that Greatway trains its agents to do so.”
The order stated that Greatway “disagrees with some of the allegations in [FSRA’s notice of proposal] but wishes to cooperate with FSRA to address the alleged deficiencies in the training.”
Greatway had requested the hearing with FSRA’s financial services tribunal “with the primary purpose of allowing Greatway Financial time to resolve matters with the FSRA in a non-adversarial manner,” the firm said in an October statement. At the time, Greatway said that it communicated key risks and disclosures of the policy.
“While we are confident in the quality of our existing training materials, we are happy to refresh parts of it in order to resolve matters with FSRA,” said Greatway’s chief compliance officer, Ray Burgher, in an e-mailed statement on Thursday. “All Greatway agents are required to complete the revised training by March 31, 2023.”
In September, FSRA released a review of managing general agents, including Greatway, that found some life insurance agents were paid for sales made by agents they recruited. The regulator said it would release draft interpretation guidance for public consultation this fall and hold consultations in 2023 on a draft proposal to expand MGA regulation.