SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Free online investor education tools are available to help New Brunswickers do a quick background check before they choose an investment advisor.
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission is encouraging residents to take a minute during Investor Education Month.
"A quick background check on anyone who will be handling your investments could save your financial future," said Rick Hancox, chief executive officer of the commission. "Investors should use our resources to find out if an advisor is registered; if an advisor has ever been subject to any disciplinary action; and what products an advisor is able to sell."
Research from the Canadian Securities Administrators 2012 Investor Index reveals that only one in three New Brunswickers with a financial advisor has ever completed a background check. In addition, almost 30 per cent of Canadians believe they have been approached with an investment fraud at some point.
"Being an informed investor is the best defence against investment fraud," said Hancox. "It is your money. We encourage you to do your homework: ask questions, be diligent and take the time to protect it."
Canadian Securities Administrators provides a check registration webpage where investors can find the National Registration Search, which makes checking your financial advisor's registration quick and easy.
The commission's online tool includes:
● Check Before You Invest – steps to take to complete a background check, including a workbook to record results;
● Understanding Registration – a resource to help investors understand the results of their search;
● Working with a Financial Advisor – an outline of the steps investors should take when considering and working with a financial advisor; and
● A Working with Professionals section that includes information about choosing a financial advisor, questions for your financial advisor, financial advisor fees and what to expect.
Investors are encouraged to call or email the commission if they discover the person with whom they are dealing is not registered or if they suspect investment fraud. Hearing from New Brunswickers about suspicious financial and investment activity early is integral to combatting fraud and the harm it can do. Contact the commission at 1-866-933-2222 (toll-free) to get further information, to make a complaint or to express other related concerns.
The commission provides protection to consumers and investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices. The provincial government established it on July 1.
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission brings together regulatory authorities for securities, insurance, pensions, consumer affairs, co-operatives, credit unions, caisses populaires, and loan and trust companies. It is an arm's-length Crown corporation funded by the fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors.