Watching over Canada's banks
Canada's top prudential financial watchdog holds a bachelor
of arts in economics from the University of New Brunswick.
Julie Dickson is the Federal Superintendant of Financial
Institutions. It's her job to regulate and supervise Canada's banks, insurance
companies and private pension plans.
There's no such thing as a ‘typical day' for Dickson, who
splits her time primarily between Office of the Superintendent of Financial
Institutions (OSFI) offices in Ottawa and Toronto and regularly travels the
world to represent OSFI at international meetings.
"Financial services is a global industry, and there's a lot of
effort spent to try to ensure that the rules are the same around the world,"
Dickson oversees all of OSFI, which shapes the supervisory
and regulatory frameworks of financial institution policy for all of Canada.
"The breadth of responsibilities is quite challenging," she
says. "We like a challenge. You're also seeing first-hand what financial
institutions' plans are, and how they are dealing with the challenges they
face. Seeing it across the whole sector can be very exciting."
Life long interest
Dickson's interest in financial institutions began earlier
than one would think - she first fell in love with banks at the age of 10.
"I remember walking into a bank branch and thinking it was a
very fascinating place," she says.
While attending UNB Fredericton, Dickson spent her summers
working at a bank. She attended graduate school in Ontario before she started
her career with the Department of Finance in Ottawa, working in the Capital Markets
"Next to my office was the group that dealt with the Bank Act.
I immediately thought ‘that's where I'd like to be.' It's where I went after a
After 15 years with the Department of Finance, Dickson moved
to an Ottawa consulting firm and then to the Privy Council Office, serving the
Prime Minister, before taking a position at OSFI.
Having worked with OSFI for much of her time with the
Department of Finance, joining its office as a special adviser was an easy move
for Dickson. Within a short period of time, she had become Assistant Superintendent
of the Regulation Sector, and then she was appointed Deputy Superintendent a
few years later.
Dickson was appointed as Superintendent of Financial
Institutions in July 2007.
She and her colleagues at OSFI are all there for the same
reason, she says.
"We like the fast pace and the intellectual challenge. I
think we have a lot of fun at the same time as we're working hard."
UNB is a big part of Dickson's family.
"We have six kids in the family and they all went to UNB,"
Julie remembers her own time at UNB for the people and the
size - its small classes and close community made it easy to make friends and
"I lived in Lady Dunn Hall, and that was a lot of fun. You
meet many people and I made a lot of friends," she says. "Some of my classes only
had six to 10 students. I liked the atmosphere and the small campus."
Being able to talk to professors with ease also enhanced her
"The fact that you could get to know the professors was a
very positive thing," she says. "They work very hard at what they do."