By Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, Consumer Protection BC writer
Shahid Noorani, Vice President of Regulatory Services for Consumer Protection BC, believes strongly in regulatory excellence – his 20 plus years in the compliance field is a testament to that. (For those of us who don’t speak legalese, compliance means following the rules.) Shahid’s current team is tasked with uncovering wrongdoings and making sure BC’s consumer protection laws are being followed to the letter.
If you were to talk to him about his work, you might expect to learn about policies, procedures, and techniques. This is where you would be wrong. When asked about what makes up an excellent investigation, you hear something unexpected. Instead, he will tell you about the people he works with and the characteristics of a great team. “Sure, your processes and a solid understanding of administrative fairness are strong foundations,” he explains. “But that drive to truly make a difference and be great – as a regulator or an investigator – starts with the people.”
He’s obviously doing something right because Consumer Protection BC won an award for investigative excellence. Shahid believes that begins with three key elements:
- It starts with your corporate culture. Your greatest foundation is a positive corporate culture based on values that people are committed to. “If our investigative team stands for the same things as our organization – integrity, impact, accountability, trust, excellence – we can only succeed,” says Shahid. “Those shared values are our compass and they guide us when things get difficult or murky.”
- A passion for the mandate. Beyond corporate culture, he wants each member of his team to connect with the work and believe in the purpose of the organization. At Consumer Protection BC, the goal is to make a difference in the life of British Columbians, especially those who are vulnerable and unable to protect their own interests. “This type of work encourages you to test yourself, take risks and push you to new limits,” explains Shahid. “To thrive, the desire to achieve our mandate must be there for each of us. And it’s my job to foster that.”
- A willingness to embrace challenges and see opportunities. The more complex the case, the harder it is – on legal, human and financial resources, as well as the impact on your working relationships. The intensity escalates as new challenges come up in a case. Shahid believes that you must be willing to accept those difficulties, trust your team, stand confident in your knowledge of the law and be willing to take risks and think differently. “In a recent payday lending case, we recognized that we couldn’t do it alone to be able to help a certain group of people,” he says. “We needed help from our colleagues to get and understand meaningful data. We shared our findings with another regulator, the Financial Institutions Commission, because we knew they had the authority and deeper knowledge in an area that we didn’t. The willingness to collaborate, both internally and externally, led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds.”
The takeaways here? Champion a positive culture. Believe in what you do. Take a chance. And collaborate.
In late 2018, Consumer Protection BC received an Investigative Excellence Award from the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR). This award for exceptional performance acknowledges Consumer Protection BC’s investigation into the sale of unlawful credit protection insurance related to payday loans. This recognition complements the organization’s other awards, including the Best in Biz Awards 2018 International and certification as a Great Place to Work since 2016.
To find out more about Consumer Protection BC, a provincial regulator, please explore www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.