Know your financial advisor: Understand designations and titles

Have you ever looked at your financial advisor’s business card, and wondered what the letters behind their name mean?

If so, you are probably not alone.

There are a variety of titles and designations used in the Canadian financial services industry. If you are considering buying or selling securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.), it is critical that you check an individual’s registration status and the types of investments the advisor can sell before you invest. You should also be confident that his or her knowledge and training is a good fit for your situation.

In order to help you with research, we recently added new content and tools to the Informed Investing section of InvestRight.

The updated “Look for a registered advisor” webpage walks you through how to check to see if the person you are dealing with is registered to trade securities and give you investment advice.

The page includes new content to emphasize why registration is important, and what the different categories of registration mean. There is also a link to a new Canadian Securities Administrators’ resource that helps you understand the different registration categories for those who sell and advise on securities.

Additionally, we created a new “Designations & titles” page. This page provides common job titles and certifications used by financial advisors who work in the Canadian investment industry.

At the bottom of the page, you will find a link to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada’s new database, which lists a number of titles and designations, including some that we did not cover on our page. The IIROC database includes more detail about the educational requirements for each designation, and information about whether the issuing organization has an investor complaint process.

Finally, a new Guide to Investing is available that will help you to develop a skeptical attitude, conduct your due diligence, and get answers to essential questions that will support your relationship with your advisor and your investments. There are also companion worksheets available in the resource section that will help you work with your advisor and ask questions about your investments.

We hope that you will find these resources helpful. If you have any observations or questions, you can leave them in the comment box below.