February 13, 2004
For immediate release
Choose Your Financial Advisor Wisely this RRSP Season
Office of the Attorney General
"The best investment decision we may ever make as individual investors may be finding a dependable financial adviser. This process takes time and research, similar to the care we take in choosing a doctor or other service professional," said Attorney General Jamie Ballem. "It's important that you invest the time to find someone you can openly discuss your investing goals with and who can help you manage your investments to meet changing circumstances in your life."
Islanders are encouraged to think about the following tips when looking for a financial professional:
1. Know yourself: Understand your financial goals and risk tolerance and honestly communicate them to your adviser. Keep them abreast of changes in your life that may affect your investing circumstances. Under securities laws, advisers are required to understand each client thoroughly so that they can give the best possible advice for the individual situation.
2. Know your options: Identify ideal traits that you would like to see in an adviser. Understand what products the adviser is registered to sell (mutual funds? full range of investment products?), and how they are paid (commission? salary?).
3. Understand designations: Many advisors use letter designations after their names. This may indicate that the advisor is a member of a particular organization and/or has attained a certain level of education. Not all designations require adherence to a code of ethics. Familiarize yourself with the designations of a prospective advisor before you commit.
4. Interview a number of advisers: Screen three to five potential advisers to get an understanding of their experience, service standards, types of clients, etc. This can be as easy as making a few brief phone calls to determine if they are someone who you would like to work with.
5. Confirm that the adviser is registered to practise: Contact your provincial securities regulator to verify that the adviser is registered to give investment advice and that they are in good standing (or that there are no disciplinary charges against them).
The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) reminds Canadians that their adviser must work for them. If the adviser is not doing a good job or meeting agreed expectations, there are always other advisers out there. A copy of the CSA brochure, "Choosing Your Advisers," is available on the CSA Web site at www.csa-acvm.ca or by contacting your provincial securities regulator.
The CSA is a council of the 13 securities regulators of Canada's provinces and territories. It coordinates and harmonizes regulation for the Canadian capital markets.