Complaints about investment firms or representatives can range from problems with service quality or errors in account handling, to concerns that you have received poor investment advice or that securities rules may have been broken. The nature of your complaint and the type of firm involved will determine your best course of action.
Approach Your Investment Firm
Before pursuing action with a regulator, raise your concerns with the person who handles your account. They can often quickly clear up what may have been a misunderstanding.
If you are unable to resolve matters with your advisor, ask the firm for information about its formal complaint process. In most cases, the next step is to write a letter to the firm’s branch manager or compliance officer. The firm should acknowledge receipt of your letter, investigate your complaint, and then inform you of the outcome.
If you are still dissatisfied with the outcome, you have several options for pursuing your complaint outside the firm, depending on the outcome you are looking for, the type of firm you are dealing with, and the nature of your complaint.
- If you are looking for financial compensation, you can go to court, agree to binding arbitration, or contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investment (OBSI).
- If you are concerned the advisor or firm you deal with may have broken the rules, take your complaint to the appropriate regulator to ask for a regulatory review. You can request a regulatory review and pursue financial compensation options at the same time.
Document the Complaint Process
Once you begin the complaint process, it is important to document and record every step you take, including telephone conversations, faxes, and emails. Note all details such as the date, time, and name of the person you spoke with and what you discussed. Communicate in writing whenever possible.
Find the Right Regulator
Two self-regulatory organizations (SROs) supervise the business conduct of investment dealers and mutual fund dealers. SROs are industry associations that set and enforce rules and standards for their members and are answerable to the BCSC. Each SRO has a formal process for reviewing complaints about its member firms and their sales representatives.
Complaints about advisors and dealers that are not members of an SRO should be made to the BCSC in the following cases:
- Complaints about portfolio managers and investment counsel, scholarship plan dealers, exchange contracts dealers, and other limited dealers.
- Complaints about an individual or company trading or advising without being registered.
- Complaints that have not been satisfactorily resolved by other organizations.