The Ontario Securities Commission's (OSC) Investor Advisory Panel (IAP) is undergoing a sweeping change in its membership that sees seven new members appointed to the independent panel during the coming year.

The list of newcomers to the IAP announced on Monday, which comes at a time when regulators are contemplating critical investor protection reforms, includes:

> Neil Gross, who stepped down as executive director of the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR Canada) last autumn and now works as a public policy consultant.

> Malcolm Heins, chairman of the Ontario government appointed Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives, which is recommending the adoption of a best interest duty in Ontario.

> Paul Bates, a lawyer with Siskinds LLP, who has a diverse legal practice concentrating on complex commercial litigation, including securities litigation and claims against financial advisors and portfolio managers.

Gross, Heins and Bates will replace well-known outgoing IAP members, including vocal investor advocate Ken Kivenko; securities lawyer Harold Geller; and former regulator and one-time IAP chairwoman Connie Craddock. The IAP's most recent chairwoman, Ursula Menke, is also leaving, as is Alison Knight.

Letty Dewar — former investment industry executive and one of two continuing IAP members, along with former advisor Louise Tardif — has replaced Menke as chairwoman. Dewar has served on the IAP since 2014 and took over her current role effective June 1.

Heins officially joined the panel on Monday along with two other new members: long-time financial services executive, Jacqueline Allen, who was most recently head of portfolio and electronic trading sales at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Canada; and Larry Bates, an expert on fixed-income markets.

Paul Bates, Gross and two more new members — veteran fund industry executive Patti Best and Harvey Naglie, former senior policy advisor with the Ontario Ministry of Finance — will each start two-year terms on Nov. 1.

The IAP's membership makeover comes at a critical time for investor advocates as regulators are currently contemplating major policy decisions, including a possible ban on embedded commissions and plans for a best interest standard in Ontario, along with a series of other reforms to retail regulation.

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