OSC Seniors Strategy: A stronger and more secure financial future for all Ontario seniors

The Ontario Securities CommissionOntario Securities Commission An independent Crown corporation that is responsible for regulating the capital markets in Ontario. Its mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and to foster confidence in fair and efficient capital markets.+ read full definition (OSCOSC See Ontario Securities Commission.+ read full definition) has developed a strategy and action plan to respond to the needs and priorities of Ontario seniors.

Ontarians are living longer than ever, and older Ontarians make up a growing portion of Ontario’s population: by 2041, approximately one in four Ontarians will be aged 65 or older. At the same time, older Ontarians are being called upon to make complex financial decisions later in life, and with higher stakes, than may have been the case for previous generations.

At the same time, aging can often also be accompanied by health, mobility, or cognitive changes that may affect a person’s ability to make these decisions later in life, as well as their susceptibility to financial exploitation and fraud.

That said, the OSC’s strategy reflects that not all seniors are “vulnerable” or unable to protect their own interests. While changes to cognition and issues of diminished capacity are often associated with aging, it is important to recognize that these factors may affect different individuals at different points their lives, and to significantly different degrees.

The strategy recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” solution and takes a comprehensive approach through changes in policy, operations, research, education and outreach. This page summarizes some of the initiatives contained within the strategy that are relevant for investors.

Key highlights for investors:

Policy actions

Under its strategy, the OSC will be proposing a series of changes to regulation that would allow financial advisors to respond if they suspect that one of their clients is being financially exploited or is unable to make financial decisions, including:

  • requiring advisors to make efforts to collect information for a client’s “trusted contact person,” which is a person that the client would authorize the advisor to reach out to if there is a concern about the client’s behaviour or transactions in the client’s accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition; and
  • enabling advisors to temporarily prevent funds from leaving a client’s account if the advisor suspects that the client may be being financially exploited or that the client’s ability to make financial decisions may be impaired.

Enhanced education and outreach

Financial education and investor outreach form a significant part of the OSC’s investor-focused activities, including those for older investors. Under the strategy, the OSC will:

  • enhance education and outreach activities to provide tools and resources for older investors, their families and caregivers who support them, as well as their registered firms and representatives, and improve the ways in which the OSC delivers information through written materials, digital publications and in-person engagement;
  • create a new resource hub that puts all materials in one central location, making it easy for anyone to find the information that they need; and
  • reach out to communities of new Canadians, and in particular members of those communities who are older, to help them navigate the Canadian financial marketplace, plan for their futures and avoid financial frauds.

Operational changes

The OSC will build capacity among its staff to continually improve the ways in which it works with older investors, including:

  • provide training and education for its staff members that interact with older individuals, such as when receiving inquiries and complaints; and
  • enhance its Inquiries and Contact Centre’s ability to respond to older callers by allowing them to self-identify as a “senior” and be immediately directed to a staff member who is trained to understand and address the unique needs that older individuals may have.

Continued research

The OSC will be conducting further research as a way to understand changes among older demographics and develop potential solutions to help improve outcomes for investors, and will:

  • continue working to examine behavioural barriers related to retirement planning and ways to help people to overcome those barriers; and
  • conduct interviews, hold focus groups, and carry out other forms of research to learn how its policies impact older Ontarians and measure how effective its educational resources are in helping people prepare for the future.

Next steps

For the full picture of how the OSC is addressing the needs of older investors, visit the OSC website to read the complete OSC Seniors Strategy and all of the initiatives we will be pursuing.

Right now, you can visit the Growing Older hub on GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca to find information to help them prepare for their future, and the Retirement Planning section for a number of tools and articles on budgeting and saving for retirement.

Research by the OSC found that only 14 per cent of Ontarians age 45 or older have a written retirement plan, while 54 per cent have no retirement plan at all. Visit the Research & Reports section for more findings from the OSC about the habits and needs of Canadians related to personal finance, money management and investing.

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