Canadian brokerage firms will soon have to file quarterly reports disclosing to the national regulator certain types of client complaints.

It’s about being “more proactive and transparent” to investors, says Joe Oliver, president and CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDA), the self-regulatory body that oversees about 190 firms in Canada.

Oliver says the proposed rule, which will require firms to file the information electronically, won’t cover “service complaints.” Rather, it’s designed to smoke out sales-practice complaints like unauthorized trading and suitability issues.

Currently, there is nothing in the IDA rules requiring firms to disclose such complaints, although the regulator conducts regular compliance audits. In the United States, brokers must publicly report customer complaints that allege damages of $5,000 or more, or that the employing firm determines could be worth $5,000 or more.

Under the new rule, which will likely be adopted at a June meeting, notices of disciplinary hearings and statements of allegations about broker complaints will be made public. More enforcement staff will also be hired.

“We felt we should bolster our operations,” says Oliver.

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