Osgoode Hall Law School’s Investor Protection Clinic at York University – the first clinic of its kind in Canada – has released four information videos to help educate and protect retail investors who may be vulnerable to financial mismanagement. Addressing topics such as the securities regulation system in Canada, red flags for investment fraud and ways to recover lost funds, the Points of Interest video series was produced by Osgoode students and funded through a grant from The Law Foundation of Ontario.
“We’re pleased to offer these important resources as part of our mission to provide pro bono legal advice to people who believe their investments were mishandled and cannot afford a lawyer,” says Osgoode Professor Poonam Puri, the clinic’s academic director. “We believe that better educated and informed investors are better protected.”
Almost 60 per cent of the Investor Protection Clinic’s clients identify as having low or no investment knowledge. They place their trust in financial advisors to handle their investments wisely without understanding the information on the documents provided to them or the risks.
The Law Foundation of Ontario supported the project as part of its mission to help people understand the law and use it to improve their lives. “We provide grants to support public legal education and information resources, like the Points of Interest video series, to help people understand and exercise their legal rights,” says Lisa Cirillo, the Foundation’s CEO. “This is especially important for people who may be more vulnerable, including those with low financial literacy.”
Osgoode students developed the videos in consultation with the clinic’s supervising lawyers and representatives from the Ontario Securities Commission and the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). Topics include: An Introduction to Regulating Securities; Your Advisor’s Responsibilities & Identifying Investment Mismanagement; Reporting a Wrongdoing and Seeking a Remedy; and Navigating the OBSI Complaint Process. The final two videos in the series – Navigating the IIROC (Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada) Arbitration Process and Is Civil Litigation Right for You and Your Claim? – will be released later this academic year.
“The experience of distilling complex information into 10-minute video clips highlighted how challenging the securities regulatory market can be for retail investors to navigate,” says former student caseworker Jessie Armour, who co-led the project in 2019-20 with her classmate, Marco Castelli, JD’20.
“We hope these videos will help retail investors identify signs of investment mismanagement sooner so they can prevent losses and have a better sense of their options,” says Castelli.