Finding the right adviser is important, so take the time to choose one who has the necessary qualifications, experience and, as importantly, is someone with whom you feel comfortable. After all you don’t want just anyone helping you manage your money and your future.
Where do I start?
Where do I start?
Ask for referrals. Your friends, family or work associates may have financial advisers, but never assume that someone who's right for them is right for you.
Check First by going to the Confirm Registration page to make sure individual is registered to sell investments.
Also check to see if this person has been disciplined in another jurisdiction by reviewing the CSA Disciplined Persons List.
Once you have a list of potential advisers, contact them for a brief telephone interview. If you like what you hear, move on to an in-person interview, where you'll ask more detailed questions.
A potential adviser should be able to provide you with a few references; talk to them before you make your final choice.
Step 1: Phone First!
Talking to potential advisers over the phone can help you reduce your list and decide which ones you'd like to meet. Use the following questions to help you narrow your search:
- Are you registered to sell investments? What type(s)?
- What are your formal qualifications?
- How much experience do you have?
- What types of clients do you have?
- How many clients do you have?
- What hours do you work and when are you not available?
You may want to use the AdvisorReport service of IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada) – it’s free and can help you research the professional backgrounds of current IIROC-registered advisors.
Step 2: Meet Potential Advisers
Once you've narrowed down your list, it's time for a face-to-face meeting. Keep the interview relatively short (about half an hour should do) and stick to the topics at hand. We recommend you ask the adviser questions like these:
- Describe your formal qualifications. What do they involve?
- What types of investments are you registered to sell?
- Are you restricted to certain companies in the products you offer? If so what companies are they?
- How are you paid?
- How often will you contact me?
- What is your investment philosophy?
- Will you be handling my account personally or do you have an assistant?
- Can you provide me with references from your existing client base?
Note: You may also want to conduct a background check.
Step 3: Talk To References
Calling references is a great way to learn more about a potential adviser and to confirm any suspicions that may have arisen from your in-person meeting. The following questions can help you learn even more about a potential adviser.
- How long has your adviser worked with you?
- How satisfied are you with his/her services?
- What are his/her strong points? Weak points?
- Does your adviser have any special areas of expertise?
- Have you ever been disappointed or surprised by anything in your relationship with your adviser?
- How often do you hear from him/her regarding your investments?
- Who normally initiates the calls?
- How quickly are your calls returned?
Your relationship with your adviser is not one-sided. It is, after all, your money, and you're in control. There are a few things you can expect a good adviser to do for you, and there are several things you can do to ensure your relationship with your adviser is productive.
You can expect your adviser to:
- Know their clients (also known as "KYC" – Know Your Client)
- Behave in an ethical, honest manner
- Fully disclose all risks
- Make personalized recommendations
Have a clear understanding of your values, your goals, and your wishes in life – both short and long-term. Have clear expectations about what you want your adviser to do.
Your relationship with your adviser is intended to be long-term. You're in it for the long haul. But it's okay to make a change if you find your needs have changed. If you do change advisers and the new one suggests switching products, ask questions about fees, the respective long-term performance of your current portfolio and the product(s) he/she is recommending. Also ask about potential compensation for him/her should you switch. Make sure it makes sense for you, not just for your adviser.
Contact professional associations for assistance or information. You can contact the organizations below with your questions:
If you want information on:
- Portfolio Managers, Investment Counsel, Scholarship Plan Dealers, and/ or Securities Advisers - contact the ASC
- Mutual Fund Dealers - contact the MFDA or the ASC
- Investment Dealers (Brokers) - contact IIROC