Market watchdog launches wrongdoing hotline

Tue May 26, 2009 9:51am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's securities industry watchdog has opened a hotline for investors wishing to report wrongdoing, fraud or unethical behavior, mirroring steps taken in the United States following multibillion-dollar frauds.

The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) started the "whistleblower service" on Monday, making four high-ranking organization members available to take complaints by telephone (toll-free at 1-866-211-9001) or via email (

The hotline is similar to one created by U.S. independent securities regulator FINRA in March after New York money manager Bernard Madoff was discovered to have cheated thousands of investors out of $65 billion in a Ponzi scheme that spanned more than 20 years.

A Ponzi scheme pays early investors returns from the investments made by later clients.

Canada has had no Madoff-like scandals and is viewed as having among the most stable, and conservative, financial services industries in the world.

"This service will ensure that individuals who believe that they have significant information to convey deal directly with IIROC senior staff who will ensure that each tip is properly evaluated and promptly dealt with," IIROC President and Chief Executive Susan Wolburgh Jenah said in a statement.

In April, the IIROC proposed new rules to revamp bond market pricing that would require dealers to tell retail investors whether commissions and other charges on bond transactions are included in prices.

The regulations are meant to make over-the-counter markets more transparent, with key controls on pricing that could make bonds cheaper for investors.

(Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Peter Galloway)