The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is ramping up some of its compliance measures this year, focusing on high-risk insurance advisors.
Heather Driver, director, licensing with FSCO, told the fall summit of the Independent Financial Brokers of Canada (IFB) in Toronto in November, that FSCO is adding a layer to its supervision of desk review prior to the on-site examinations that it has been holding for a couple of years now.
Targets high-risk advisors
The examinations, prompted by the provincial auditor, will target advisors considered high-risk, rather than going out and talking to advisors at random, said Driver.
The first step in the desk review will see a questionnaire go out to several hundred life agents. Those who receive the questionnaire will need to respond within 15 business days or be escalated to regulatory and disciplinary officers.
FSCO will be looking at a number of key issues, including unlicensed activity, false information on application forms, continuing education credits, having E&O insurance as well as a new section on failure to disclose a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest, said Driver.
She said some agents also have been caught putting false information on application forms. While it’s easier to refuse a licence than revoke one, Driver said advisors who can’t resist “that temptation to say, ‘Well, I’m just not going to mention these legal charges,’ – that is just a world of pain to get into. It is better to be honest and up front.”
In the past, some advisors who didn’t fulfil their annual allotment of continuing education credits were given extra time to make them up. Now though, said Driver, the ministry is very strict on whether they will allow people without the adequate amount of CE credits to be given that extra time.
She said there are only 30 hours of CE credits that need to be satisfied and there is a lot of flexibility in the courses. She said some agents have paid for false CE certificates, only to be found out later.