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Seeking Financial Compensation

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.

Additional Options for Seeking Financial Compensation

Optional Process with a Registered Firm

Some registered firms (in particular, subsidiaries of Canadian banks) have their own optional, internal process that begins after the firm’s written decision. The staff administering this process are often called internal ombudsmen. A registered firm’s internal ombudsman is different from OBSI. You are not required to have a registered firm’s internal ombudsman consider your complaint before contacting OBSI. Using the registered firm’s internal ombudsman process could leave you with less than 180 days to complain to OBSI.

Civil Action

At any time, you may discuss your complaint with a lawyer to get advice. If you consult a lawyer, you might hear about suing for compensation. There are two ways to do this in BC:

  1. BC Small Claims Court 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.
  2. BC Supreme Court is the court you would use to sue for more than $35,000. In BC Supreme Court, a lawyer should represent you.
    Binding Arbitration

If your complaint is about an investment dealer and the amount of the dispute is $500,000 or less, you can use IIROC’s binding arbitration program as an alternative to going to court. In binding arbitration 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 dispute resolution service, including OBSI.