There are rare cases where an investment advisor intentionally mismanages or even steals clients’ money. For more information on financial advisors, visit our Work With an Advisor section.
Illegal and Unethical Advisor Conduct
Even though you depend on your financial advisor to help you make investment decisions, it is essential that you monitor your portfolio and keep an eye on their work. If you suspect that anything is wrong, ask questions. If the advisor does not give satisfactory answers, or you still have doubts, contact the firm or a securities regulator.
Know the Warning Signs
- Offers of lucrative private deals: Registered advisors should not be selling or recommending ‘off-book’ or ‘secret’ deals to clients.
- High-pressure sales: If an advisor pressures you into buying an investment, or bullies you into an uncomfortable investment strategy, there may be something wrong.
- Request for direct payment: When you write a cheque for investment purposes, always make it out to the firm that holds your account, not the advisor or a company he or she owns.
- Errors on your statements: If you see questionable investments, or you think there is money missing from your account, and your advisor can’t explain or fix it, you need to speak with their employer immediately.
- Your statements don't look right: When there is a discrepancy, or something doesn’t look right, check into it right away.
- Unregistered dealing: Check to see if your advisor is registered to recommend the products they are offering.
Taking Action Against Advisor Misconduct
- Draw up a list of questions: An advisor who is doing something wrong may make excuses or offer to make things right. This list will help you stick to key issues.
- Make sure you document the answers: Email is an effective form of communication, as it creates a record of the conversation. When you cannot use email take notes or record the conversation.
- Speak to the investment firm or make a complaint: Once you get the answers to your questions, talk to the investment firm your advisor works for, and possibly, a securities regulator.
Check Before Investing:
Report Suspicious Investments:
Bring suspicious investment activity to the attention of the BC Securities Commission by contacting BCSC Inquiries. You can report suspicious activity anonymously through the Report a Scam form. Remember to keep records in case you need to make a complaint or take legal action.