Investment fraud in Canada is real. Twenty percent of Manitobans have been approached with fraudulent investment opportunities. Scam artists are highly sophisticated—separating you from your money is their business.
The following tips can help to protect you from losing your hard earned money or your retirement nest egg.
Your responsibilities – knowledge is power
As an investor, there are measures you can take to help avoid issues and invest as safely as possible:
- Check registration and get to know who you’re working with
Before working with an adviser or making a new investment purchase, always check that the adviser and their firm are registered and if they’ve ever been disciplined using the Canadian Securities Administrator’s National Registration Search tool.
- Read more about the investments you’re considering
Get as much background information as you can on the investment before buying. A copy of the Fund Facts should be provided to you when you purchase a mutual fund. If you’re investing in a company, read about it in the news and online at SEDAR and SEDI. Get to know the company and the industry as much as possible. You can often find useful information on reputable financial websites which could be a value in your decision making.
- Maintain clear communications with your adviser
To ensure you receive the best possible advice, be open and honest with your adviser about your financial situation, expectations, and goals. As you continue to work with your adviser, keep them updated on any significant personal or financial changes that could impact your financial plan.
- Ask questions, take notes, and get everything in writing
When meeting a new adviser for the first time or learning about a new investment opportunity, ask lots of questions and get to know them or the opportunity as best as you can. Be sure to ask for documentation on suggested opportunities, and request written copies of the adviser’s notes on your portfolio. It never hurts to take your own notes, either.
More on Working with an Adviser
Making a complaint or reporting fraud
If you think you’ve lost money due to the action/inaction of your adviser or their firm, you should contact the firm and make a complaint. Be clear about what went wrong and when, as well as the outcome you’re seeking. Your firm has up to 90 days to respond. If their response is unsatisfactory, you can escalate your complaint to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI). OBSI provides dispute resolution between consumers and banks, securities dealers and trust companies.