Financial Planners & Advisors

Investing can be complicated, and many people simply do not have the time to acquire the knowledge and confidence needed to invest effectively on their own. A financial planner or advisor can help them.

How do you choose a financial planner or advisor?

The terms “financial planner” and “financial advisor” are used broadly; in fact, anyone outside the province of Quebec can call themselves a “financial planner” or “advisor.” What sets some apart are their education and training, and the qualifications that they hold. For ease of reading, the pages in this section use the term “advisor” to mean a financial professional with training and expertise that is recognized within the financial sector.

Choosing the right advisor depends on the kind of help you are looking for. Different advisors offer different products and services, and their professional designations can provide an indication of their qualifications and expertise. Ultimately, what’s important is that you’re confident that your advisor has the experience and expertise necessary to help you reach your financial goals.

Don’t be afraid to meet with several potential advisors before choosing one. To make the most of your meeting, draw up a list of questions you want to ask. Be sure to take detailed notes.

Factors to Consider

Is the advisor registered?

By law, sellers of mutual funds, stocks and bonds must complete training and be registered with a provincial or territorial regulator. You can check that the advisor or firm you are considering is registered, and you can find out what kind of registration they hold. Simply visit the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) website and use the National Registrant Search. It includes the names of all individuals and firms registered in Canada.

Past disciplinary action

You can check whether an advisor or firm has been subject to disciplinary action in the past by visiting the following websites:

Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
Research the background, qualifications and disciplinary information on advisors at IIROC-regulated firms by generating an IIROC Advisor Report.
Disciplinary Records For Firms

Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA)
CSA Disciplined Persons List

Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA)
If an advisor is licensed primarily to sell mutual funds, the MFDA is the self regulating body. You can search for current and past disciplinary hearings.

How an advisor is paid

Advisors can provide a range of helpful services, but they don’t work for free. It’s important to understand the fees and costs associated with their services.

Investing On Your Own

Investing on your own may be an option if you are confident about your investing knowledge and have the time to follow developments in the financial market. If you are new to investing, it is probably better to work with an advisor.


Source: Working with a financial planner or advisor, Reproduced with permission from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), 2015