IIROC Announces Implementation of New Complaint Handling Standards

TORONTO, Dec. 21 /CNW/ - The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) today announced implementation of new complaint handling standards for IIROC-regulated firms, following approval December 18, 2009 by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). The new standards are effective on February 1, 2010.

The new complaint handling rule sets standards and timelines for IIROC- regulated firms to acknowledge, investigate and respond to client complaints about their accounts.

"These complaint handling standards are an important step forward in our ongoing efforts to adopt best practices that promote fair and timely resolution of client complaints," said IIROC President and CEO Susan Wolburgh Jenah. "Clear and consistent standards for the handling of client complaints will enhance investor confidence in the fairness of the financial services industry."

The new rule sets tighter timeframes for responses to client complaints. Under the new standards the firm has five business days to acknowledge receipt of the client's complaint. The firm must investigate the complaint and provide its response to the client within 90 calendar days. When firms are unable to respond within 90 days, they are expected to explain the reason for the delay to the client and to IIROC.

The new rule sets clearer standards on how firms should handle investor complaints. This includes appointing a Designated Complaints Officer with the knowledge, experience and authority to manage the complaint handling process and to act as a liaison with IIROC. Firms must provide clients with clear and easily accessible information about their complaint handling process.

The rule also aims to promote more effective communication with clients. Clients will be informed about complaint handling procedures and other options available to pursue complaint disputes at account opening, when they make a complaint, and when the firm provides them with its final response. These communications will include the IIROC-approved An Investor's Guide to Making a Complaint brochure.

Additional information is provided in Client Complaint Handling Rule and Guidance Note: and amendments to Dealer Member Rules 19, 37 and 2500.

IIROC is the national self-regulatory organization which oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada. Created in 2008 through the consolidation of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and Market Regulation Services Inc., IIROC sets high quality regulatory and investment industry standards, protects investors and strengthens market integrity while maintaining efficient and competitive capital markets. IIROC carries out its regulatory responsibilities through setting and enforcing rules regarding the proficiency, business and financial conduct of dealer firms and their registered employees and through setting and enforcing market integrity rules regarding trading activity on Canadian equity marketplaces.

SOURCE Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) - General News

For further information: For further information: Connie Craddock, Vice President, Public Affairs, (416) 943-5870 or ccraddock@iiroc.ca

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