Canada’s Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) has published a plan covering key strategic directions and initiatives that the organization will pursue over the next three to five years.
“By successfully executing the plan, we hope to strengthen our public service contribution, provide thought leadership and add value to the Canadian financial services sector,” said OBSI Ombudsman and CEO Sarah Bradley.
The plan has OBSI focusing on four strategic directions:
- Deliver a high-value service and be the dispute resolution provider of choice: OBSI aims to use its expertise and knowledge to deliver insights and expand service offerings. Planned initiatives include surveys, improved identification of trends and potential systemic issues, and sharing of complaint and restitution expertise.
- Build enduring relationships through stakeholder awareness of the value of the OBSI service: Clear demonstrations of value and service effectiveness will be used to reinforce regulator, firm, and consumer trust. Among the targeted initiatives are the development of an early advice program and implementation of consumer-facing public relations initiatives.
- Drive continuous improvement and organizational resiliency: Standardized and improved processes and service times will be targeted to increase service excellence. To this end, they aim for clear benchmarks and best practices for investigative processes, an IT infrastructure review, and formulation of an enterprise risk management (ERM) policy framework, among other plans.
- Invest in OBSI's people: To support the improvement of service levels, efforts to increase employee engagement will be pursued. Such efforts include dialogue and collaboration with staff and management, succession planning, professional development, and enhanced internal knowledge management.
Last year, the OBSI came under fire when an independent evaluation found that its current mandate prevents it from “securing redress for all consumers who have been wronged,” according to former New Zealand Banking Ombudsman Deborah Battell. This was chalked up to the fact that its resolutions are non-binding, leading errant firms to defy the OBSI by paying less than the recommended compensatory amount to consumers they were found to have wronged.
While Bradley says that the plan aims to inspire confidence in the Canadian financial sector, it does not indicate any planned shifts toward issuing binding resolutions.
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