Reviewing Ontario’s Financial Regulators: A Discussion with the Panel
George L. Cooke, former president and CEO of The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, and current chair of the board of directors of OMERS
George L. Cooke is Chair of the Board of Directors of OMERS Administration Corporation. He began serving as Chair on October 1, 2013.
In 2012, Mr. Cooke retired after a tenure of more than 20 years as the CEO and a Director of The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, one of Canada’s oldest and largest general insurance companies. During that time, he served as both an Executive Vice President and Director of E-L Financial Corporation (The Dominion’s parent).
When he retired from The Dominion, Mr. Cooke established Martello Associates Consulting, specializing in business strategy.
Mr. Cooke is one of three panel members that undertook a review of the mandates of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the Financial Services Tribunal, and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario for the Government of Ontario, announced in March 2015 with a report anticipated during the spring of 2016.
Mr. Cooke currently serves as a Director of Hydro One. He has also served as a Director and Chair of The Insurance Bureau of Canada; Director of The Facility Association; and Director and Chair of Property and Casualty Insurance Corporation. He also participated as a member of the Ontario Government-appointed Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force and is currently the Board Chair of CANATICS, an industry-owned, insurance fraud analytics company. Past director positions also include Empire Life and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. His directorships have provided him with broad exposure to audit, human resources, investment, public policy and regulatory matters.
Mr. Cooke enjoys a profound interest in public policy and, earlier in his career, was a Special Advisor on Policy to the Honourable Robert F. Nixon, Ontario's former Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, and subsequently Vice President of S.A. Murray Consulting, a government relations firm.
Mr. Cooke has an MBA and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens University. He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree (LLD) from Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario. He also was awarded a HCIP (Honourary Chartered Insurance Professional) designation by the Insurance Institute of Canada.
Mr. Cooke is a former Director and President of the Empire Club of Canada. He is also involved with a number of not-for-profit organizations, the most prominent being Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCI). This work helped him earn the Ken Langford Honourary Lifetime Membership from SCI. In 2014, he was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
James Daw, former Toronto Star personal finance columnist
James Daw was for 40 years a journalist, mainly at the Toronto Star focusing on business, economics and personal finance issues. He served as consumer representative for the review of the mandates of Ontario's financial regulators and tribunal, and earlier on an Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force. He and his wife of 42 years, Diane Muckleston, live in Toronto.
Larry Ritchie, Partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and former Vice-Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission
Lawrence Ritchie re-joined Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in 2014 in Toronto to chair its national cross-disciplinary Risk Management and Crisis Response practice group after a seven year absence, serving as Vice-Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), Canada's largest capital markets regulator. Larry also co-chairs the firm’s Capital Markets Regulatory Enforcement and Broker-Dealer practice.
Larry’s experience encompasses all aspects of enforcement, regulatory proceedings and related litigation, including class actions. His practice involves dispute avoidance and resolution across a range of capital markets, the financial sector and other regulated industries and activities. He advises public corporations, their directors, officers, and in-house counsel on avoiding, preparing for, managing and responding to extraordinary “crisis” situations, including regulatory actions and litigation, as well as conducting and responding to internal and regulatory investigations. He provides proactive corporate governance and other risk-management advice and advises clients on developments in capital markets regulation, governance and compliance, administrative law and practice. He also represents clients in addressing relevant matters with regulators, before administrative tribunal and in the courts, when necessary
At the OSC, Larry was a member of the Commission, its board of directors and the executive management and adjudicative committees. He chaired adjudicative panels that heard and decided enforcement and transaction related proceedings, regulatory policy matters and appeals of decisions of OSC staff and recognized self-regulatory organizations and acted as executive sponsor for the development of a number of important securities policies and rule-making initiatives. He represented the OSC at national and international bodies and organizations and, in particular, on the Joint Forum of Canada’s Financial Regulators, the North American Securities Administrators Association and at the International Organization of Securities Commissions. From 2009 to his return to the firm, Larry helped establish the Canadian Securities Transition Office, the federal statutory organization charged with leading the transition to a single national securities regulator. As an executive, he advised the Canadian federal Minister of Finance on, and assisted the Department of Finance with all aspects of that initiative including the proposed capital markets legislation and regulations and the development and operationalization of a national capital markets regulatory authority, including its governance and tribunal.
In 2015 Larry was appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve on a 3 person expert panel to examine and provide recommendations on the mandate, structure and authorities of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the Financial Services Tribunal and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario.
Larry is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, teaches at the Institute of Corporate Director’s Director’s Education Program and has lectured and written on various legal and regulatory topics. He received his BA in Economics and Politics from the University of Western Ontario, his LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, and his LLM from the London School of Economics.