and corporate law and governance. I was originally called to the
bar in Ontario, but have also been called to the bar in Nova Scotia
and New York.
In 2010 I was appointed Vice-Chair of the Nova Scotia Securities
Commission, which opened my eyes to the practical nature of
applied policy making and administrative law. I enjoyed sitting
on hearing panels and engaging in the policy development work
of the Commission and the Canadian Securities Administrators.
In 2011, I was appointed Chair and CEO of the Commission and
my involvement with policymaking and practical administration
deepened. As part of this role, I participated in the CSA Policy
Coordination Committee, the Joint Forum of Financial Regulators,
and the North American Association of Securities Administrators. I
also served as Vice-Chair of the CSA from 2012-2014.
Over the years, I have also completed some continuing education
that has been useful in my professional life, including the Harvard
Program on Negotiation and the Institute of Corporate Directors
Director Education Program. For me, giving back and engaging in
my community is important. During my time in Nova Scotia, I was
President of the Board of YWCA Halifax, and served on the Board
of Eastern Front Theatre and on the Property Committee of the
Nova Scotia Nature Trust.
What led you to take on this opportunity at OBSI and what are
you looking forward to?
I strongly believe that OBSI plays a vital role in our financial services
system. It’s an important institution – necessary for consumers who
are often confused, frustrated and at the end of their rope, and also
just as essential for our member firms, who are, by the time OBSI is
involved, in a difficult situation as they’ve been unable to resolve a
grievance with a customer. I believe the work truly matters. It makes
a difference for the individual, for our member organizations and for
the financial services industry as a whole.
I was also very impressed with the team here. They are an
outstanding group of professionals – deeply knowledgeable and
highly committed. It felt like the perfect opportunity for me and I’m
eager to be setting the course for the future of OBSI. In the short
term, I’m looking forward to sitting down with our vast community
of stakeholders – our members, of course, but also the various
regulators, investor advocates and industry groups – to hear their
perspectives about the service OBSI provides.
I’m also looking forward to engaging in the independent external
review of the investment side of our operations, which will take
place in 2016, as it does every five years. OBSI has experienced
a lot of change in the past 5 years, and we have streamlined our
investigations and processes dramatically. It will be good to have
an independent, expert group take a critical look at our operations.
I believe we should always be striving to improve, so I’m eager
to go through the process and see their observations and
related recommendations, as well as their thoughts on any
international best practices we may be able to adopt. It’s an
important analysis that will give our stakeholders confidence
that the work we do and how we approach it is up to international
standards, and that the fairness and impartiality they expect is
ever-present in our assessments.
Given your background as the Chair of the Nova Scotia
Securities Commission and Vice-Chair of the CSA – what
does that senior securities regulator experience bring to your
perspective as the Ombudsman?
As a regulator, the dual objectives of investor protection and efficient
capital markets are always top of mind. From that perspective, I
have seen the importance of an effective ombudsman for investor
protection, investor confidence and overall market participation. I
also recognize that OBSI is in a unique position. We’re trusted by
our member firms and by their clients to provide a fair and impartial
assessment of disputes in which both parties are highly vested.
So, first – I take that responsibility very seriously. Second, from
my years as an academic and an administrative tribunal member,
I understand and identify with the process of gathering and
understanding evidence before reaching conclusions. Third, OBSI
is operating in a changing regulatory environment - I understand
that environment very well and I believe that my background will
serve OBSI well as we interact with our regulators on the investment
and banking sides of our operations. In fact, I have experience in
many areas that touch OBSI’s mandate and operating model –
not just securities regulation, but also public policy development,
business law, governance, and commercial law, all within complex
multi-stakeholder environments. I feel confident this combined
background will contribute to the leadership I will bring to OBSI.
Do you have specific areas of focus and or change in mind
It’s a little too soon to tell. I want to engage with the stakeholder
community and spend time with my own team to get a feel for
the opportunities that may exist for OBSI, but I suspect the future
of OBSI doesn’t look dramatically different from its present. Our
core focus is on delivering fair and impartial dispute resolution
in an efficient manner to our member firms and their customers,
and that won’t change. We can always become more efficient,
and I’m actively seeking opportunities there. I’m also proud of our