Making a Complaint
Reporting wrongdoing helps protect all New Brunswick investors
Regulators investigate possible violations of securities law and can order reprimands, penalties, suspensions and/or expulsion from the securities industry. Regulators may also work with the police if criminal activity, such as fraud, is suspected. Regulators normally do not recover money for investors and cannot provide legal advice. If you think an individual or company has broken securities laws, you should contact the appropriate regulator.
Make your complaint in writing as soon as possible. State clearly what you think went wrong and when. If you are seeking compensation, it’s important to file a complaint as quickly as possible to ensure you don’t limit your options and your legal rights.
- Record the facts and gather all relevant documents with respect to your complaint.
- Determine what you want to achieve. Are you looking for compensation or looking to have a reprimand issued?
- Respond quickly to any requests for more information from the company.
- Document the steps you take to resolve your complaint. Write down who you spoke to, the date and what was discussed.
- Keep a file of relevant documents, such as application forms, agreements, account statements, letters, faxes, emails and notes of conversations.
Who to Contact
Who you contact will depend on what you want to achieve. From having a complaint documented, to seeking a formal apology, to getting your money back, it’s important to know what you are expecting. This will help ensure you contact the correct organization.
The Role of the Regulator
FCNB helps New Brunswickers make informed financial and consumer decisions through public education programs and making and enforcing industry rules for securities as well as insurance, pensions, consumer affairs, co-ops and credit unions. Under securities law, we have the authority to impose administrative sanctions on individuals and companies that break the law. Sanctions may include reprimands, financial penalties, suspensions or removal from securities industry. Under the Securities Act, FCNB has the authority to make orders, which may assist victims in recovering money lost as a result of a violation of securities laws.
What FCNB can do to help:
- Answer general questions about investment products and services
- Tell you if a firm or representative is registered in New Brunswick, as well as any terms and conditions that currently apply to their registration
- Tell you if an individual or firm has been disciplined by FCNB (See Regulator Decisions)
- Present options for pursuing your complaint
- Enforce compliance with securities legislation
- Take action against market misconduct
What the FCNB cannot do:
- Undo a transaction
- Give advice on a specific investment
- Give legal advice
- Comment on an on-going investigation
- Make a complaint on your behalf
Along with FCNB, below are some other regulators and bodies who may be able to assist you:
Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
IIROC regulates investment dealers and their approved advisers and oversees trading activity on equity marketplaces (like the TSX). You can find a list of regulated companies and marketplaces at www.iiroc.ca.
Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA)
The MFDA regulates mutual fund dealers and their salespeople. You can find a list of MFDA dealers at www.mfda.ca.
Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)
If you have a dispute about a registered person or firm that may have acted inappropriately (for example, by recommending investments that are unsuitable for you based on the information you gave them), and you have lost money that you wish to get back, you can submit a complaint to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). OBSI is a free and independent service for resolving banking and investment disputes between participating firms and their clients and can recommend compensation of up to $350,000. For information on how to make a complaint to OBSI, see the process to get your money back.
Before bringing your case to the OBSI, you must provide the company an opportunity to respond to your complaint first. If that does not resolve your concerns or the company has not provided its final response to you within 90 calendar days, you can then bring your case to the OBSI for an impartial and informal review.
You have up to 180 days after receiving the company’s response to get in touch with OBSI.
If you, or the company, decide not to accept the OBSI’s recommendation, you can use the IIROC arbitration program (if the dispute involves an IIROC-regulated firm) or take legal action. An independent arbitrator guides the proceedings, reviews the arguments of each party and arrives at a binding decision. This can include an award of up to $500,000 plus interest and costs. IIROC rules require the companies regulated by IIROC to participate in arbitration if a client chooses this option.
Lawyers can advise you whether you should go to court to get your money back. Each province and territory have a time limit for taking civil action. You should consult a lawyer early on to determine what the applicable limitation periods are. Once the limitation period expires, you will lose your right to pursue a claim. Look up the Lawyer Referral Service through the Canadian Bar Association for a list of practising lawyers.