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

Investor Watch: Investing in real estate (moved)

Canadian Investors: more vulnerable to investment fraud than ever

In Your Community - October 2014

More Resources

Elder Abuse Pt. 1: How does financial abuse happen?

This month, we are running a series of blog posts to urge British Columbians to be aware and report financial abuse involving seniors. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day occurs every June 15 and Seniors’ Week in BC is June 3 to 9. We encourage you to share these posts with friends, family, or people who […]

Vancouver 2010 Olympics: Promises of high returns

  On the eve of this city’s biggest undertaking, the anticipation for Canada to win lots of Olympic medals is palpable. Polls on news sites ask people to vote on whether Canada will win 20 or more medals. It’s as if there wasn’t enough pressure on the athletes already, so let’s pile it on. Some […]