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Asking the right questions and doing basic research can help you make an informed decision to find out if an investment is right for you.

When considering an investment, it’s smart to ask:

  • Is the person offering me this investment registered? What about his/her company?
  • Is there any enforcement history with this company or individual?
  • Are there any complaints about this company online from unhappy investors?

Check Registration

Investment professionals who sell securities are required to register with the securities regulator in each province or territory where they do business. Registration helps protect investors because securities regulators will only register firms and individuals if they can show that they are properly qualified.

Use the National Registration Search to check if your adviser or firm is registered.

Keep in mind that just because an individual or firm is registered doesn’t mean the investment is a good fit for you. Those offering investment opportunities have varying skills, provide a variety of services, may offer a wide spectrum of investments, and may charge different fees. Ensure the person you’re working with understands your personal financial goals and is willing to work with you to meet them. Advisers must complete a ‘Know Your Client’ (KYC) form so they can assess your current financial situation, your investment objectives and risk tolerance.

Check Enforcement History

Look up current and previous enforcement proceedings, decisions and orders to see if there is any disciplinary history for a company or individual offering you an investment.

We encourage you to become familiar with the ASC website where you can find information on upcoming hearings, investor alerts, decisions and settlements, registration details and many other things that can help them gather information before investing.

Investors can also visit the website of the Canadian Securities Administrators for current information from across the country on registration, lists of persons and companies who have been disciplined, cease trade orders and enforcement history.

Check News Releases & Search Online

Finally, investors can do a general online search of key terms such as ‘fraud’ and ‘fraudulent investment’, and search the name(s) of the person and/or company offering an investment, as well as other individuals associated with the investment. Investors can also look through  ASC news releases for information about an individual or firm. The news can often tell you about unhappy victims, court cases and other information that you may want to further investigate.

Below are additional resources that you may find useful when doing a background check and research on an investment:

CHECK your knowledge

Before investing, test your knowledge. Take our quiz to find out how much you know about protecting yourself and your investments, and let us help point you the right direction.