Contact Us | Search

SIPA 2015 Animation/Video Contest: Investor Be Aware

Background: Reasons for the Investor Be Aware Contest

The Small Investor Protection Association (SIPA) was formed in 1998 when its founder personally discovered that the current investment industry regulatory system did not provide adequate protection for the small investor. SIPA became a voice for those small investors.

That same year, well known retired securities lawyer Glorianne Stromberg released her scathing report called “Investment Funds in Canada and Consumer Protection”. The Federal Wise Persons Committee Report and resulting Fair Dealing Model were written in 2004, a full decade ago! Theresa Tedesco of the Financial Post accurately coined it Dead Before the Ink Dried

In 2004, SIPA prepared a five year report entitled The Small Investors’ Perspective of Investor Protection in Canada. The report was delivered to 25 of the top regulators and government officials across Canada. Its purpose was to raise awareness and ensure that leaders were fully aware of how the regulatory regime was failing to protect consumer/investors. David Brown, then Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, said the SIPA Report led directly to his arranging the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) Town Hall Event in 2005 that attracted approximately 500 persons. Related documents are available on the SIPA website.

In early 2005 SIPA made an unsolicited submission It’s a Matter of Trust to the Senate Standing Committee on Banking Trade and Commerce that was a 20 -page condensed version of the 100-page SIPA Report. This resulted in SIPA being invited to Ottawa to appear before the Senate Committee. Advised of the Town Hall Event that was to take place, the Senate Committee asked SIPA to report back, and asked David Brown to appear before the committee. But the OSC failed to follow up with any further Town Hall Events. They did establish an Investor Advisory Committee that was later disbanded after several years without any public report.

In 2008 the Government established the Expert Panel on Securities Regulation to make recommendations on securities regulation. Again SIPA made an unsolicited submission Because They Can to the Expert Panel and was subsequently invited to participate in roundtable discussions in Toronto. The Expert Panel’s Final Report included some of SIPA’s recommendations, including regulatory power to order restitution for victims of wrongdoing, and an Investor Protection Fund funded by the industry to pay for restitution.  Action did not follow the report.

Change has been infinitesimally slow. The groundwork though has been laid through these efforts. Traditional methods have had limited results.  So we are left asking, “Do we really need another study? Do we really need more research and committees?” It seems it is time for a different approach. The public must be made aware. The time has come to focus on less traditional methods and to branch out with a new approach to tackle the goal of promoting consumer/investor awareness. Real and lasting reform might only come when investors begin on mass to demand it.

In order to reach the public SIPA has decided to host the 2015 Animation/Video Contest: Investor Be Aware. The purpose of the contest will be to raise public awareness of how the investment industry operates. The industry bombards us daily with its commercials and ads. This is part of SIPA's effort to balance the scales. This contest will use social media for the purpose of maximizing social good. These “mini commercials” created by the public, for the public, will shine the light on the hidden dangers faced daily, by consumer/investors, when dealing with the financial industry. It is hoped they will raise awareness and generate discussion on this important topic.

Our ultimate desire and goal is that these videos and animations will be a reflection of the people's voice and will open eyes and ears across the country and galvanize regulators and our government to real regulatory reform that truly protects investors.