Poll finds the majority of Ontarians are turning to the Internet, word of mouth or social media to inform investment decisions

FSRA encourages consumers to get financial advice from qualified sources

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is encouraging consumers to get financial advice from qualified financial services professionals. FSRA has found that a significant number of Ontarians may be making investment decisions based on information from questionable sources or from individuals who may not be qualified.

According to a recent poll commissioned by FSRA, 68% of respondents get financial advice and tips from the Internet, word of mouth or social media. Other sources of financial information include professional consultants, financial reports, financial technology tools such as self-directed investing, TV, radio and newspapers.

“When investing your hard-earned savings, you need to do everything possible to get solid financial advice,” said Huston Loke, Executive Vice President, Market Conduct, at FSRA. “For example, if you are working with an individual calling themselves a Financial Planner or Financial Advisor in Ontario, you can be certain that they are required to complete a minimum standard of education, abide by a code of conduct, be actively supervised, and subject to a complaint and disciplinary process.”

Before this year, anyone in Ontario, regardless of their qualifications, could call themselves a Financial Planner or Financial Advisor. However, new provincial legislation came into force in March 2022 that will prevent unqualified individuals from using the Financial Planner and Financial Advisor titles.

“Clearly, many people are getting financial information from a variety of different sources. However, investors should always ask about and validate the credentials of the financial services professionals they are working with,” said Loke. “You want to ensure you are developing a financial plan that is right for you and your family and that will serve you well over the long term.”

According to the FSRA poll, 89% of respondents agree that there is a need for regulated standards for people using the Financial Planner and Financial Advisor titles. The factors that are most important to people seeking a financial services professional are as follows:

  • Specific education and training in financial – 81%
  • On-going training – 79%
  • Years of experience – 79%
  • A credential or designation – 77%

FSRA’s poll also suggests many people are not spending enough time seeking out a qualified financial professional and verifying their credentials. Half of respondents spent more time researching their last cellphone purchase than they did their financial services professional.

To assist consumers and investors, FSRA has launched a new education campaign, entitled Putting your interests first. The campaign offers advice and resources, including the top questions to ask a financial services professional and how to tell if they are qualified. For more information, visit FSRA’s Financial Planner/Financial Advisor consumer campaign landing page.

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FSRA continues to work on behalf of all stakeholders, including consumers, to ensure financial safety, fairness, and choice for everyone.

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