How to Seek Financial Compensation After Filing a Complaint
The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) is responsible for protecting investors and regulating the province’s investment markets. We encourage complaints from the public to help us detect, disrupt, and deter market misconduct.
The BCSC also oversees other organizations that set and enforce rules of conduct for many market participants, including organizations that regulate investment dealers and mutual fund dealers, such as the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). In most cases, these regulators are responsible for investigating investor complaints against members and their representatives.
Seeking Financial Compensation
If you believe you may have lost money due to an action or inaction made by your investment firm—such as providing you with unsuitable investment advice or making unsuitable or unauthorized trades on your account—you can file a complaint with the BCSC and hopefully we can help resolve the issue.
You may also want to discuss your complaint with a lawyer to get advice on the options available to you, including how to seek financial compensation. The information below outlines some of the ways you may seek financial compensation.
Binding arbitration is an alternative to going to court. It is available if your dispute is with an IIROC member firm or representative working for an IIROC member firm. To qualify for binding arbitration, the amount of the dispute cannot exceed $500,000.
Arbitration may be less expensive and can be faster than going to court. You can present your case with or without a lawyer. When you choose this option, you agree to treat the independent arbitrator’s decision as final and you give up the right to go to court or use any other resolution service.
BC Small Claims Court – This is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to sue for compensation and damages up to a maximum of $35,000. Most people represent themselves in small claims court.
BC Supreme Court – If you are seeking more than $35,000, you will have to take your case to the BC Supreme Court, where a lawyer should represent you.
Dispute Resolution Involving Bank-Owned Firms
If your investment dealer is a subsidiary of a Canadian bank, that bank will have its own ombudsman to handle complaints.
Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI)
OBSI is a free, independent service for resolving complaints involving banking services or investment firms.
OBSI can investigate complaints about firms that participate in its service and it can recommend compensation up to $350,000.
You can search the name of your investment firm here. You have 180 days to bring your complaint to OBSI after the firm has given you a final response, or 90 days have passed without the firm providing a final response to your complaint. Complaints to OBSI can be made here.
OBSI will determine whether it can investigate your case based on its mandate. It will then review the information provided by you and the firm and consider the facts of the case.
If you or the firm decide not to accept OBSI’s recommendation, you can still go to court or, when the dispute involves an IIROC member, use IIROC’s arbitration program.
If you have any concerns about a person or company offering an investment opportunity, please contact BCSC Inquiries at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 or through e-mail at [email protected]. You can also file a complaint or submit a tip anonymously using BCSC’s online complaint form.