The chair and CEO of Nova Scotia’s Securities Commission will lead OBSI starting in September.
Sarah Bradley has been selected as OBSI’s next ombudsman and CEO. She’ll start in the post on September 14. As head of the Ombudsman for Bank Services and Investments, Bradley will be responsible or resolving conflicts between clients and their banks or investment firms.
Until late 2012, a firm had only refused the ombudsman’s recommendations once in the over 17 years since OBSI’s predecessor, the Canadian Banking Ombudsman, was formed.
Since then it has faced more than a dozen refusals, although the organization says more than 99 per cent of cases are still successfully resolved.
In its most recent annual report released in February, OBSI said the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 magnified losses faced by investors and led to a deluge of complaints.
That in turn made complaint resolution more difficult as it “hardened firms’ positions,” OBSI says in the 2014 annual report.
Some banks even elected to leave the organization. Royal Bank of Canada pulled out of OBSI in 2008, while TD Bank ditched the organization in 2011. Both banks now use the ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Office to handle disputes.
Longtime ombudsman Douglas Melville stepped down at the end of May to take up a new role as principal ombudsman and chief executive for the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman.
Bradley, who is also the chairwoman of the Nova Scotia Securities Commission, will take over her role as OBSI’s ombudsman and CEO on Sept. 14.
In a statement, Bradley said she is excited to join the organization.
“OBSI is widely recognized as Canada’s trusted, impartial and effective provider of financial sector dispute-resolution services, with a staff team that is the best in the business,” she said.
“Sarah has proven success operating in complex multi-stakeholder environments and possesses the right mix of experience, empathy and skills to succeed as Ombudsman and CEO,” said Fernand Bélisle, chair of OBSI’s board of directors.
IIAC president and CEO Ian Russell welcomed the announcement. “Ms. Bradley is a highly respected regulator and well experienced in securities regulation, public policy development, business law and governance, business fiduciary obligations and commercial law…. [She] understands the importance of building an effective Ombudsman for the investment industry to engender confidence and market participation among individual investors, and for a committed and supportive industry.”
Bradley will be the fourth ombudsman and CEO of OBSI, succeeding Douglas Melville.