What information must financial advisors give their clients?
I was asked the other day what general disclosure advisors have to give to their clients regarding their accounts on an ongoing basis. Fiona Anderson of the Vancouver Sun wrote an article on the subject that is worth reading.
The answer is this. Advisors are obligated to send account statements every three months, unless the client asks for it on a monthly basis. It should contain basic information about dates of transactions, whether they are sales, purchases or transfers, the name and number of securities, the price and total value of the transaction.
For many people, this information is often difficult to interpret and doesn’t provide a clear picture of just how your account is performing overall. So you have every right to ask for information in a manner that paints a clear, simple picture of how your investments are doing.
For example, you can ask your advisor to prepare a year-end chart that gives the following information:
- The value of my portfolio at the beginning and end of the year
- How much was deposited into my portfolio
- How much was withdrawn from my portfolio (including fees)
Then you should ask for a year-over-year comparison so that you can see how your account is doing over a longer period-of-time. This is important information.
As well, look at our Guide to Investing worksheets that outline a whole range of questions to ask about your investments that will give you more useful information than what the monthly or quarterly statements provide.
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