How to Protect Yourself Before You Invest

Before you invest, know how to protect yourself from misconduct that could put your money at risk. Know how to check an investment advisor’s registration and recognize types of misconduct.

Contact the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) if you have questions or encounter a problem. The BCSC’s Enforcement division is here to help you if you have concerns.

What Enforcement Does for Investors

The BCSC’s Enforcement division enforces B.C. securities laws and investigates complaints about potential misconduct. This protects investors and securities markets in this province. Investigations can lead to an administrative hearing or a criminal trial.

If you have a question or concern about an investment or the person selling it, contact us.

Types of Misconduct

Some common forms of securities-related misconduct include:

  • Investment fraud, which involves dishonesty and deception
  • Illegal distribution of securities, which is the sale of securities without a prospectus or an exemption
  • Unregistered trading in securities, which involves the sale of securities by someone not registered to sell securities
  • Illegal insider trading, which happens when someone close to the company uses undisclosed material information to buy or sell securities
  • Market manipulation, which involves artificially increasing or decreasing the price of a company’s shares
  • Disclosure violations, where a company fails to disclose timely and accurate information about a company
  • Advisor misconduct, where a person who is registered to advise investors commits misconduct.

If you suspect advisor misconduct, in addition to contacting the BCSC document your concerns and speak to the advisor’s firm. You may be able to bring your complaints to the Investment Industry Regulatory Authority (IIROC), the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA), or the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). OBSI is independent from registered firms and provides impartial and informal reviews of investment disputes. It can recommend compensation of up to $350,000. OBSI’s services are free to individuals.

Learn more about Types of Misconduct

Check Registration Before You Invest

Registration helps protect investors from unqualified individuals and firms. In order to be registered, a firm or individual must meet certain qualifications and comply with securities laws. Working with a registered investment advisor is one way to help protect you.

Do an Advisor Check

Registration Categories in the Securities Industry

Registration categories vary depending on the firm and products an advisor sells.

You may also notice different designations and titles in the financial services industry. The BCSC does not regulate these designations, and just because someone has a designation, it does not mean they are registered to sell securities or advise.

Questions or Concerns? Contact the BCSC

We welcome comments, questions, and tips from investors. If you need to speak to someone at the BCSC, contact us.

Learn About BCSC Inquiries

Suggested Reading

BC Securities Enforcement Roundup – February 2013

Be on the lookout for social media investment scams

2009 CSA Investor Index from a BC perspective

More Resources

Investment Caution List: 6 New Additions

The BCSC Investment Caution List shows unregistered and unqualified investments promoted in BC.

CSA Reminds Investors to Check Registration

In the time it takes you to read this headline, you can check to see if the person who is selling you stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other securities is registered. March 18, 2015 is Check Registration Day, and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) are encouraging investors nationwide to help protect themselves from investment fraud […]