Opening remarks by Lucie Tedesco, Seminar on Ageing populations: Understanding and responding to the needs of older financial consumers 

Speech

March 26, 2019
OECD Conference Centre, Paris, France

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Good afternoon everyone. It is a pleasure to be here. 

I would like to thank our hosts, the OECD, for organizing what promises to be a productive and lively afternoon of discussions. I feel embraced by the warmth of the hospitality we have received as guests in this magnificent city. 

For me, it is especially nice to be escaping the Canadian winter to join you in this magnificent city. Spring may have arrived here, but back home in Ottawa the snow is still very much with us. 

I’m also delighted to have this opportunity to address such an esteemed gathering of policy makers, regulators and financial authorities from around the world. 

Wherever we call home, we all share the same objective – which is to protect the consumers of financial products and services.

This work, as we all know too well, is not getting any easier. 

Today’s financial landscape has become increasingly challenging. Innovations that both benefit and harm financial consumers continue to emerge, and these innovations have a tendency to pop up in one area of the globe, and then quickly appear in another with little warning. 

In this volatile and interconnected environment, organizations such as FinCoNet and the G20/OECD Task Force on Consumer Protection continue to be as relevant and necessary as ever, if not more so.

In my day-to-day work as Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, when I’m facing an emerging consumer issue, I know I can reach out to a FinCoNet colleague who may have dealt with, or be dealing with, a similar issue. And inevitably, that colleague will share a relevant discussion paper, useful fact or nugget of meaningful advice. 

This collegiality helps all of us to step up our game. It is a reminder that the progress we strive for and advocate for cannot happen in isolation. 

That is why the ongoing partnership between our two organizations must continue to grow stronger. Joint efforts lead to stronger outcomes. 

Last year, we conducted our first joint exercise to gain a holistic understanding of oversight frameworks for product governance and culture. Those involved in this exercise will have seen first-hand the benefits of working together. 

Today, we are combining forces again to tackle another key issue – the needs of older financial consumers.

This is a timely topic – one that is receiving growing attention by policy makers, regulators and researchers around the world. 

And with good reason. The population in many of our countries continues to age. 

For us in Canada, our population is in the midst of a fundamental shift. According to our latest census figures from 2016, seniors outnumber children for the first time. 

And projections suggest the imbalance in the population will only grow. By 2031, approximately 23 per cent of Canadians could be seniors – that’s nearly one in four Canadians.  

Given this extraordinary change in our demographics, the Government of Canada is taking action in a number of areas. Just last fall, it tasked my agency to create a code of conduct to guide banks in their delivery of services to Canada’s senior population. This work is to complement our ongoing efforts to support Canadians in preparing financially for their future years as seniors. 

As such, I can assure you that my Canadian colleagues and I very much look forward to today’s joint seminar. It is incredibly beneficial for us to be here to share information and learn from our counterparts from around the world.  

This afternoon, we all have a wonderful opportunity to explore key issues and challenges from a range of perspectives. I am confident it will make for a lively exchange of ideas. 

By working together, we can continue to help develop and enhance consumer protection standards and practices across the world.

As chair of FinCoNet for nearly two-and-a-half years now, it has been my privilege and honour to lead this global network of dedicated professionals. 

Our organization continues to grow and evolve. This is due in no small part to the many forms of collaboration that exist between our organization and valued partners and stakeholders such as the OECD.

Thank you again to all of you for your attention, and for being here. 

I look forward to talking with you and making new acquaintances this evening.


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