CSA publish guidance on implementing OBSI dispute resolution mechanism

May 1, 2014

The Canadian Securities Administrators today released guidance to assist registered dealers and advisers outside Quebec, which are now required to make the services of the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) available to clients. As we discussed last year, amendments to National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations and its companion policy (collectively, the Amendments) now require that registered firms offer OBSI's services in order to satisfy their obligations to make independent dispute resolution or mediation services available to clients. Registered firms who are members of self-regulatory organizations will continue to be subject to their SRO's rules concerning complaint resolution.

Specifically, the guidance sets out the CSA's expectations in respect of preparing and delivering clear and meaningful client disclosure. Specific issues considered include when client disclosure is to be provided, when independent dispute resolution or mediation services need to be offered, and when relationship disclosure has to be updated. Sample client disclosure was also provided. Subject to necessary approvals in each participating jurisdiction, the Amendments come into force May 1, 2014 and provide for a transition period that will end on August 1, 2014. For more information, see CSA Notice 31-338.

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