Broker Calls Equal Telemarketing: CRTC

Commission singles out after-hours, unsolicited calls.

Are brokers telemarketers? Partly, according to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which has concluded that some, but not all broker-client communications fall in the telemarketing category.

The CRTC singles out after-hours and unsolicited calls in its ruling–not only confirming a 2009 bulletin that classified insurance broker and agent telecommunications as telemarketing, but also amending an earlier decision that set contact between financial advisors and their clients apart from the rules.

“Consequently, the rules are to apply equally to the financial and insurance industries, and in the same way they apply to all other industries,” the decision, released August 19 states.

Both the broker and financial advisor communities had lobbied the commission to level the playing field between the two groups, and exempt brokers from the telemarketing rules.

But the commission saw things differently. “While investment or financial advisors and insurance agents or brokers have an obligation to communicate with their clients in certain circumstances, there is no obligation to do so exclusively by telephone,” the decision states, adding that, “every other industry is subject to the telemarketing rules and the ADAD [Automatic Dialing-Announcing Device] Rules when making unsolicited calls to sell or promote products or services to existing clients [and] there is no compelling reason, policy or otherwise, for the financial and insurance industries to be subject to a different application of the…Rules.”

Under the decision’s terms, brokers may still call existing clients named on the National Do Not Call List, but will have to follow CRTC rules when making unsolicited calls.

Representatives from the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) and Advocis were not available at press time. Watch CI Top Broker for continued coverage.

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