In May 2011, Kerry Peacock, executive vice-president branch banking at TD Canada Trust, resigned from the 10-member board of OBSI in the wake of an attempt by TDWaterhouse Canada Inc. to opt out of using the services of OBSI. There was also pressure for Luc Papineau, a senior executive at TD Waterhouse, to step down from OBSI’s board. At the time, consumer advocate groups asked IIROC to replace Mr. Papineau, who was also a member of IIROC’s Quebec District Council, because of TD’s criticisms of the banking and investment industry mediator. Mr. Papineau and Ms. Peacock were two of the three industry representatives on OBSI’s board who were nominated by SRO’s.
In October 2011, TD Bank Financial Group decided to withdraw all banking complaints from OBSI ( RBC did that in 2008 and National Bank November of this year).These banks now use ADR Chambers Banking Ombudsman (ADRBO), a for-profit mediator, to handle banking complaints that aren’t resolved by the bank’s own internal complaint handling process. ADRBO is regulated by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). Investment complaints involving TD and RBC still must go to OBSI.
Ms. Kerry Robbins has been the TD Ombudsman since September 2014. Kerry has worked at TD for over 18 years in increasingly senior roles in a wide variety of areas, including Direct Channels, Branch Banking, and Real Estate Secured Lending. . Ms. Robbins therefore has friends and associates among bank staff. She has a BA from King’s College at the University of Western Ontario and a MBA from Anglia Business School in Cambridge, England. She is also listed as a Board Member of the Canadian Centre of Ethics & Corporate Policy.
According to the 2016 Annual report, the Office opened a total of 749 cases, representing an 18% increase over 2015. The average time to complete a review was 61 days, with 95% of the cases closing within 90 days. About 85% (637) of the cases were either not resolved or were partially “resolved” at least using TD’s definition. The majority of the case files originated from the Branch Banking network but 75 (10%; 6% in 2015) of cases related to wealth/ investments. This means that complainants who had a choice to use OBSI after the investment dealer decision chose or were nudged into using the unregulated TD ombudsman’s Office instead of CSA- approved OBSI, a non-profit agency supported by participating firm funding . It can make non-binding recommendation. According to an independent reviewer’s report, 18% of its recommendations are low-balled by investment dealers. Investor advocates argue that OBSI’s inability to make participating firms follow its recommendations is a denial of access to justice.
Coverage: Assumed to be all TD wealth units including discount brokerage.
Reports to: Not revealed.
Decision stature: Unable to elicit a response to our enquiry- we believe recommendation is non-binding on applicable TD Bank business unit.
Dollar cap: Not disclosed
Given its lack of independence, unknown governance and opacity, the use of the internal “ ombudsman” is a questionable choice .It is a well established fact that the more stages in a complaint handling process , the less likely a complainant is to see it through to completion .That is why investor advocates suggest going to OBSI after the firm has had two chances at satisfying the complainant.
The internal “ ombudsman' issue should be addressed in the consumer component of the review of the Bank Act - along with many other issues related to OBSI, the FCAC, For-Profit external dispute resolvers, conduct standards etc.
· PIPEDA Report of Findings #2016-006: An insurance company’s internal ombudsman office is not a “formal dispute resolution process” under PIPEDA - Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada In order to qualify as “a formal dispute resolution process” pursuant to paragraph 9(3)(d) of PIPEDA, as a basis for withholding access to personal information, the process’s purpose must be to resolve a dispute and the process itself must be formal. The formal process requirement mandates the presence of a framework or structure, either legislated or agreed to by the parties to the dispute; in other words, the resolution of the dispute must take place in accordance with recognized rules.https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-actions-and-decisions/investigations/investigations-into-businesses/2016/pipeda-2016-006/