Raising the Bar

Toronto (December 19, 2000) – Consumers are better protected when life insurance companies establish high standards of conduct and compliance, according to a report released today by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). Conflicts of Interest, Compliance and Governance in Financial Services was prepared for the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) by Richard W. Leblanc, a lawyer, certified management consultant and lecturer at York University.

"The principles contained within Mr. Leblanc's report are applicable across the financial services industry," Dina Palozzi, CEO and Superintendent of Financial Services, noted. "We urge all companies to review their practices in light of this study." Ms. Palozzi also commented on recent examples of two companies which discovered inappropriate behaviour and took action. Transamerica Life Insurance Company and Standard Life Assurance Company have faced situations involving employee conduct and compliance issues. In both cases, the companies detected the problem and policyholders were reimbursed.

As part of its new market conduct review process, FSCO is monitoring and, where necessary, enforcing compliance. "Consumer confidence in the marketplace depends on all companies setting and meeting high standards of ethical behaviour. With this report, we are taking steps to ensure that confidence," said Ms. Palozzi.

Mr. Leblanc's report is available on FSCO's website at www.fsco.gov.on.ca or by calling FSCO's Publications Line at (416) 590-7298.

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FSCO Media Contact:
Brian Donlevy
(416) 590-7057