Research an Investment Offer
Always take the time to check out an investment and the person selling it before you invest.
Before You Invest
Do a Background Check
First, use the National Registration Search (NRS) on the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) website to check if your advisor or firm is registered.
- If you have questions about the results, check this Guide to Understanding Registration search results.
- If you discover the person or company you are dealing with is not registered, is offering you something they don’t seem permitted to, or if you need help understanding the results of the NRS tool, contact British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) Inquiries.
Next, check the CSA’s Disciplined List.
- If the person or company you are dealing with is on the list, ask questions or call BCSC Inquiries immediately.
For more information, visit our Advisor Check page to learn how to research an investment advisor. You can also search the BCSC’s current and historical criminal enforcement cases for information about persons currently being investigated as well as persons who pleaded guilty or were convicted since 2008.
Research the Investment
- Review Investor Alerts and the Investment Caution List. These sources will let you know if securities regulators are warning people about the company or individual selling an investment.
- Look at the National Cease Trade Order (CTO) Database. A CTO against a company prohibits residents in the province where it is active from trading in the securities of that company.
- Look for news or information online about an individual or firm. You may find out about unhappy victims, court cases, or rumours that you should investigate further.
- Hire or consult with a registered, professional financial advisor.
- Use the BCSC InvestRight Guide to Investing: How to be an Empowered Investor.
- Do some independent learning – the more knowledge you have, the better questions you will ask.
Make Sure the Investment Fits
- If it feels too risky or doesn’t fit into your financial plan, get some help before you invest.
- If there is pressure to purchase an investment, hold on to your money. This is a fraud warning sign. You may find other fraud warning signs are present once you do your research.
- Bring suspicious investment activity to the attention of the BCSC 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.