Conduct a Background Check

Conduct a background check in 3 easy steps

  1. Check registration 
  2. Check disciplinary history
  3. Search the internet  

Use the Worksheet for choosing an advisor PDF document to record your findings. Then use the worksheet when you interview the advisors you are considering, in person or by phone.

1. Check registration

Step 1 - Go to the National Registration Search database 

Go to the National Registration Search database on the Canadian Securities Administrators website.

Step 2 - Fill in search criteria

You can search for advisors by individual name, firm name, or individual and firm name.

Take a look at our search tips PDF document

Step 3 - Get your questions answered

Make sure that the advisor is registered to provide the services you need. If you need help at this stage, contact BCSC Inquiries. We welcome your phone inquiries about registration during regular business hours, or anytime by email. To find out more information about the advisor or firm, see the Guide for checking registration. Or, download the pdf PDF document.

2. Check disciplinary history 

Check to see if the advisor you are considering was ever disciplined for bad practices. If so, you’ll be able to find a record of the violation and the discipline they received using the CSA Disciplined Persons List.

The Canadian Securities Administors' (CSA) website lists individuals from many parts of Canada, including British Columbia, who have been subject to sanctions by any securities regulator, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) or the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA).

The list contains anyone who has been subject to sanctions, no matter how serious. It does not include those who are currently under investigation or involved in a hearing or settlement process.

IIROC and the MFDA are responsible for regulating the operations, standards of practice and business conduct of their members by enforcing their rules and regulations. The MFDA and IIROC both offer direct links to the list from their websites.  

You can also contact BCSC Inquiries and we’ll check the person’s disciplinary history with you over the phone.

If an advisor has been disciplined  

If the currently registered advisor you are researching has been disciplined, be sure to read all the available information. You’ll need to decide how relevant the violation is to their ability to give you objective investment advice and meet your service expectations.

If an advisor who is seeking your business is not registered, or has not been forthcoming about their disciplinary history, report them right away to BCSC Inquiries.

If the violation relates to dealing dishonestly with clients in any manner, be very cautious about forming a relationship with that person. Better yet, walk away.

3. Search the internet for the advisor’s name

It’s surprising what you can find out about a person by just typing their name into your favourite search engine: their bio, detailed information about their firm and services, the community organizations they’re involved in, and, sometimes, information about a tarnished reputation. While community service, or a senior title within a firm, won’t tell you the person is a good fit for you, do pay close attention to information about wrongdoing or bad practices of any kind.

For people with common names, try limiting the search results by specifying a city or province. There may be many people named Jason Chan, so searching “Jason Chan Burnaby” improves your chances of turning up information on the person you’re looking for. For more help refining your search, spend a few minutes reviewing the search tips on the search engine you use.

CAUTION: Finding results for the name you’re looking for is not a guarantee that you have found the person you’re checking. Combine the information you find on the internet with information returned from the other sources described in this section.