Group RESP Companies are known for some very aggressive sales tactics but now it seems that one such company has crossed the line – the legal line. The office of Ontario’s privacy commissioner and the Ontario Securities Commission are reportedly both investigating the breach.
As early as 2002 the Ontario Securities Commission has been warning investors about pooled scholarship Registered Education Savings Plans, issuing a brochure saying their risks are too easily misunderstood. The OSC was worried about the costs and cancellation policies of group RESPs and the industry’s sales practices. A section in the brochure on RESP tips says, “Don’t fall victim to aggressive marketing techniques.” Another tip warns investors not to invest in RESPs if they don’t understand the product.
The Ontario Securities Commission was absolutely right about Group RESP companies’ aggressive marketing techniques. According to the Toronto Star and news source CP24, between 2009 and 2014, two to three staff members at Rouge Valley Centenary hospital in Scarborough sold information on new mothers to companies trying to sell Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs). As many as 8,300 patients may have had their private information compromised – names, addresses and phone numbers. Patients report that they have been contacted by sales reps selling RESPs. The Group RESP Company involved has not been identified.
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