The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) announced Dec. 22 that it has issued a compliance order against Greatway Financial Inc., ordering the firm to deliver revised training to all of its contracted agents by Jan. 31, 2023.

It must also send existing policyholders information to help them assess the appropriateness of the products they own. “If an existing holder expresses a concern about their policy, Greatway will support the policyholder in the resolution of their concerns,” the announcement states.

“FSRA’s concerns were focused on the training Greatway provided to the life insurance agents contracted with it. FSRA alleged that the agents trained by Greatway may provide consumers with information and advice which is inappropriate, inaccurate or misleading regarding the terms, benefits or advantages of certain insurance policies, including universal life policies sold under an insured retirement plan strategy,” they write.

In FSRA’s notice of proposal, the regulators states that the firm trains agents to misrepresent overfunded universal life policies as savings or investments, rather than as life insurance, and trains agents to avoid discussing key risks and disclosures.

Aside from a clause which orders Greatway to retain an external consultant who will confirm that the revised training it provides cannot reasonably be expected to result in an unfair or deceptive act or practice, it does not address the firm’s multi-level-marketing structure or supervision practices in any specific way. FSRA has stated that Greatway’s supervision of most agents is minimal, adding that the firm states that it delegated the monitoring and supervision of agents to other, upline agents.

The order’s terms further require Greatway to direct all agents to return or destroy copies of their existing training within 30 days of being directed to do so; it must also suspend any agent who has not confirmed that they have returned or destroyed the training. 

The firm has until Jan. 31, both to contact clients and to make the new training available to agents. Existing agents, in turn, must complete the training no later than March 31, 2023. New agents who were not licensed prior to the order, are also not allowed to place new business, “or recruit and contract with other Ontario agents,” until they have completed the new training.

Greatway was one of three managing general agencies called out by the regulator for its multi-level-marketing structure back in September 2022.