Conduct a Background Check
Four Easy Steps to do a Background Check
1. Check Registration
Use the National Registration Search from the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) to determine if an individual or firm is registered. The CSA’s Check Before You Invest worksheet will help you record you findings and decide what steps to take next.
- Go to the National Registration Search database on the CSA website and go through the search steps provided by the tool.
- When you get the results, you can use the CSA’s Understanding Registration Guide to determine the firm or investment advisor’s registration type and what they are allowed to do.
- If you need help, contact British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) Inquiries. We welcome your phone inquiries about registration during regular business hours, or anytime by email.
For more information, visit our Understand Registration page.
2. Check Disciplinary History
Check to see if the investment advisor or firm you are considering has ever been disciplined for bad practices. If they have, you’ll be able to find a record of the violation and the discipline they received using the CSA Disciplined List.
The list contains all individuals and companies who have 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.
The CSA’s website lists individuals and companies 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).
You can also contact BCSC Inquiries and we’ll check the person or company’s disciplinary history with you over the phone.
What if the Investment Advisor or Firm has been Disciplined?
If the investment 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 the violation relates to dealing dishonestly with clients in any manner, you may want to walk away from the relationship.
If an investment 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.
3. Search the Internet for the Investment Advisor’s Name
It’s surprising what you can find out about a person by just typing their name into a search engine: their history, detailed information about their firm and services, the community organizations they’re involved in, and, sometimes, information about a tarnished reputation. Pay close attention to information about wrongdoing or bad practices of any kind.
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.
4. Interview the Investment Advisor
The final step in choosing an advisor is to conduct a formal interview to see if they are the right fit for you. Use the Check Before You Invest workbook from the CSA. Record your findings.
For more information, visit our Conduct a Formal Interview page.