May 28 2008 by Ellen Roseman
In my column today, I mentioned the reaction to my blog post of May 5 — an invitation from the Ontario Securities Commission to meet in person to talk about how it planned to consult with investors.
The OSC hasn’t put out a press release yet, but has published the terms of reference for its new joint standing committeee on retail investor issues.
Vice-chair Larry Ritchie hopes to have a first meeting in September that will be open to public participation. The topic: How suitable are the new products sold to retail investors?
Asset-backed commercial paper is an obvious case, as are principal-protected notes — remember the downfall of Portus? I’d include high-priced wrap accounts and guaranteed-income segregated fund portfolios, such as Manulife’s Income Plus and Sun Life’s Sunwise Elite Plus.
The OSC still hasn’t sorted out the access issues. Is it possible to include everyone who wants to join the discussion, no matter where they are in Ontario? What kind of technology would be needed to give all investors a voice?
Ritchie insists this isn’t a replacement for the investor advisory committee. If so, why has there been no appointment of new members to the IAC? Why has no one talked to former members to get their ideas on how to make the IAC more effective? Six months after the last meeting, nothing has been done.
Some investor advocates want to keep talking to the regulators. Others think it’s futile. Check out their opinions and express your own.