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Canada's watchdog to review practices in financial sector

Staff Writer |
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) announced that its next review of business practices in the federally regulated financial sector will begin in April.

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FCAC Commissioner Lucie Tedesco expressed concern with recent allegations related to the sale of products and services by financial institutions to consumers without properly obtaining their prior express consent, an issue the FCAC review will focus on.

Commissioner Tedesco said: "FCAC is responsible for enforcing federal financial consumer protection obligations.

"The law requires that, in order to provide consumers with new or expanded products or increase their credit limits, financial institutions obtain their customers’ prior consent and disclose key information about the costs and charges of the products they are purchasing.

"Financial institutions’ compliance with these rules is non-discretionary and the message must be disseminated from the boards of directors on down to customer-facing staff. These issues have been discussed in my recent meetings with the CEOs and boards of Canada’s leading banks.

"In addition, in a recent address to their compliance professionals and in an industry-wide letter, I expressed my expectation that banks and other financial institutions be proactive in scrutinizing the effectiveness of their policies, procedures and practices to ensure that consumers are protected.

"Through the industry review we are announcing today, we will examine financial institutions’ business practices in relation to express consent and disclosure, including the identification of any factors that may be contributing to non-compliance.

"We will investigate and enforce any incidence of non-compliance."

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