Shame on La Chambre Financiere for distorting the truth and misrepresenting the facts!
Shame on La Chambre Financiere for exploiting the victims of fraud in order to justified its continued existence!
Suzanne Legault is a victim of fraud. While battling cancer she entrusted her financial affairs to a licensed representative registered with the AMF. This representative took her money and taking advantage of the fact that she was not paying attention while fighting the fight of her life, this representative invested her money into an illegal scheme call Millenia Hope. Millenia Hope was a fraud and the AMF has so far applied more than $2 million dollars of sanctions against those involved.
Having lost her money, Suzanne submitted a claim to Les Fonds Indemnisation which provide indemnities for victims of fraud committed by an authorized representatives of the AMF. The claim was denied on the basis that the representative, when committing the fraud, had sold an investment that was not part of the domain where he was licensed to act. Suzanne did not get a cent back despite the government taking in more than $2 millions in various fines.
In 2017, Guylaine Leclerc as Auditor General of Québec slammed the administration of this Fund by stating that its money was not going towards the victims of fraud!!! In response to this report, the Quebec Finance Minister introduced Bill 141 that would modify the Law for the distribution of financial products and services. One of the changes proposed by this Bill is to cover all acts of fraud committed by representatives registered by the AMF. This means that there will be NO more victims like Suzanne Legault who will be denied compensation for acts of fraud.
Bill 141 also introduces changes that will be changing the financial industry in Quebec; changes that are far from being unanimous. One of the changes is the suppression of La Chambre which will cease to exist with its duties being taken over by the AMF.
La Chambre has been fighting hard for its existence and I am one of those who believe that this organization is necessary and should continue to exist. However in view of the behavior of La Chambre and its unprofessional conduct I am reassessing that opinion as A CONSUMER. To justify its existence, La Chambre published a paper outlining 10 reasons why Bill 141 is bad for consumers.
Under point 8 of this paper it is said:
THE ACTS PEOPLE NOT CERTIFIED WILL NOT BE COVERED BY FISF
A consumer victim of a bad advice, wrongdoing or act fraud committed by a person not licensed that does not act for a cabinet will not be able to benefit from the protection of the Fonds Indemnisation since these acts will not be not covered.
First let’s state that bad advice has never been covered by les Fonds d’Indemnisation. This statement leads the consumer to believe that currently the consumer is protected against acts of fraud, errors and omissions committed by licensed representative which is a LIE as we have seen in the case of Suzanne Legault and from the comments of the Auditor General of Quebec.
In making this statement, La Chambre is showing an absolute lack of empathy towards victims of fraud. In fact when Bill 141 was introduced to correct this situation, the response of the representatives and members of La Chambre was that this was going to cost them money.
Quebec representatives and members of La Chambre are fighting Bill 141 because they say it reduces consumer protection. However if increased consumer protection will cost them money then it’s not that important. In other words they are unable to put their money where their mouth is.
But let’s look closely at this statement of La Chambre. First ,I would like to draw your attention to a report produced by Union Consommateurs where La Chambre was involved. In this report, to wrongly influence members of the Quebec Assembly, it is stated that CURRENTLY CONSUMERS IN QUEBEC AE UNABLE TO BUY INSURANCE WITHOUT THE INTERVENTION OF A LICENSED REPRESENTATIVE.
THIS IS A LIE. Consumers in Quebec have been able to buy insurance directly for more than 20 years. You buy insurance directly when you buy mortgage insurance and add supplementary insurance under you group employer contract. You can go on the web site of insurance companies such as Manulife and buy insurance with NO licensed representatives involved. I worked at Manulife and therefore I know what I am talking about. You can go on the Canadian Tire web site and buy life insurance from this retailer with no licensed representatives involved.
For the last 20 years, I am not aware of one case of documented fraud involving insurance bought directly by the consumers while there has been countless numbers of fraud cases involving licensed representatives. One of the biggest fraud and bankruptcy in Quebec involved a licensed representative named Thibault and hundreds of policy owners were impacted and none received one cent of indemnity from the Fonds d’Indemnisation.
You could say: “What about mortgage insurance? What about all these cases on TV where death claims on mortgage insurance was wrongly denied?” This is a valid question to ask. None of these cases involved fraud and therefore would never qualify for an indemnity from the Fonds Indemnisation.
These are cases where an error was committed or bad advice was provided leading to the denial of the payment of the death benefit. If a licensed representative had been involved, there is high probability that the error would not have occured or that the right advice would have been provided. If the error or bad advice still occurred, then the consumer would have been required to make a claim against the ERROR AND OMISSION INSURANCE of the representative and not against the Fonds d’Indemnisation.
It would be right for La Chambre to state that to make it easier for consumers to buy insurance directly reduces consumer protection because they retain the responsibility of their own error and advice when they can transfer this risk to a professional insured against this type of error and omission.
However it is wrong to lead the public in believing that buying insurance through a licensed representative would provide better protection against fraud when it is clearly not the case unless the admissibility criteria are changed as envisioned under Bill 141. Stating otherwise is a SELF SERVING LIE! And as a defender of truth and facts I resent this claim.
For La Chambre and representatives in Quebec, you want to prove that you stand for consumers? Why don’t you do something real for someone other than yourselves; for other purposes than lining up your pockets by protecting your commissions. Why don’t you demand that changes to Bill 141 in regards to the admissibility to Fonds d’Indemnisation be made retroactive so that victims like Suzanne Legault be compensated giving them ability to move on with their lives. Why don’t you for once act outside of your own interest. If you don’t then stop stating you are opposing Bill 141 because you worry about consumers! Stop the hypocrisy!
Richard Proteau is a consumer advocate who help victims of financial fraud. While he resides in Nova Scotia he is taking a keen interest in the regulatory developments in the province of Quebec in regards to the financial industry. Why? Life insurance is a contract. The legal jurisdiction applying to this contract is where the contract was made. As a result, all the life insurance policies of Richard Proteau bought in Quebec are still under this province’s jurisdiction. Richard Proteau intends to protect the value of his policies from any changes of legislation that would reduce or eliminate his rights in order to profit the interests of specific groups and against the public best interest.