BCSC Logo InvestRight
humburger icon
close icon

Why is Registration Important?

Be sure to check your investment advisor’s registration status and understand what it means.

In general, if you are a retail investor who is purchasing securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, etc.), the person selling and advising you on the investment product must be registered.

Why is Registration Important?

Registration helps protect you because securities regulators will only register individuals and firms if they are properly qualified and comply with investor protection laws. Working with a registered investment advisor is the only way to ensure the laws governing investment advisor conduct can protect you. If you make the mistake of allowing an unregistered person to advise you about your investments, you forego the protection of those laws.

Learn how to do a registration and background check by visiting the Advisor Check section.

Registered Investment Advisors

There are different categories of registration, each allowing people and firms to sell and advise on different investment products. For example, a person registered as a representative of a mutual fund dealer can only sell and provide advice on mutual funds, unless the person is also registered in another category. A person registered as a representative of an investment firm may sell and advise on a much broader range of investment products. Read the Understanding Registration Guide to learn more about different registration types and what they do.

If your investment advisor’s firm is a dealer member of the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO), your account will be covered by an investor protection fund up to certain limits, only if the firm becomes insolvent. Your account may also be covered if you are a client of a portfolio manager firm who uses a custodian that is a dealer member of CIRO.

Canada’s provincial and territorial securities regulators have recognized CIRO and approved or accepted the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). 

CIRO consolidates the functions of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA). CIRO regulates mutual fund dealers, investment dealers, and acts as the regulation services provider for marketplaces that have retained it as such, including monitoring trading on those marketplaces for compliance with CIRO rules and securities legislation.

The CIPF combines the former Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the MFDA Investor Protection Corporation into a new entity that is independent of CIRO. The CIPF provides compensation to eligible customers of CIRO member firms in the event of a firm’s insolvency. It does not cover losses resulting from the changing market value of securities, unsuitable investments, or the default by an issuer of securities.

You can turn to other professionals – lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, and financial planners – for their expertise in various areas of personal finance. Generally, unless they are registered with a securities regulator, they cannot give advice on investments in specific securities. People who sell insurance products, like segregated funds, need to be licensed.

Financial Industry Designations & Titles

Whether you’re choosing an investment advisor for the first time or thinking about changing advisors, you’ll find a variety of titles and designations in the industry. Before choosing an investment advisor, be sure you understand the letters on their business card and how they can help you reach your financial goals.

Crypto Quiz

Test Your Crypto Asset Knowledge.

This quiz is designed to introduce you to the basics of crypto assets. It is not intended to provide investment or financial advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for such advice.

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain are the same thing.