Shopping for investment advice difficult: Regulator

Mystery shopper report finds fees rarely disclosed upfront

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OTTAWA – It is difficult for investors to comparison shop for financial advice, especially when it comes to fees and other costs, according to a “mystery” shopper report issued by securities regulators on Thursday.

The report—a joint effort of the Ontario Securities Commission, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada—said investors also face a range of different business titles when shopping for advice, adding to the complexity of the process.

In the study, representatives of the regulators visited 105 shops throughout Ontario between July and November 2014.

They included investment dealers, mutual fund dealers, portfolio managers and exempt market dealers. Of these, 88 shops had sufficient data to allow for an assessment of the shoppers’ experiences against a set of benchmarks for best practice, compliant and non-compliant advice.

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The regulators noted that in initial meetings, investors were more likely to hear about products and services offered and less likely to hear about fees or the relationship between risk and return.

“The quality and value of advice are key considerations in achieving positive investor outcomes,” the report said.

“Investors need to be confident that the advice they receive before purchasing financial products and services is of high quality and appropriate for their circumstances.”

The regulators said they would increase their focus on ensuring advisers know their clients and the products they are recommending.

“We are all committed to improving the advisory process and the overall experience investors have when seeking investment advice,” they said.

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One comment on “Shopping for investment advice difficult: Regulator

  1. I stick to simple 3 part plan. First, max out RRSP’s, TFSA’s. Second, using compound interest and saving more every year to grow my investments. Third, save every month to build a reserve fund to have 5 years or more liquid cash, short term money and be debt free as possible.

    I have achieved a $500,000 RRSP and $53,000 TFSA just buying longer, term Canada, provincial government strip bonds. I have still ones that mature for another 15 to 20 years at 4.65% to 6.45%.

    Currently, the highest yield I got was back in June-2015 at 3.474% which achieves a 6.01% when compound interest is taken into account. I am debt free since 2008 when I was 34 years old. My house is currently worth $490,000.

    I don’t see interest rates on government bonds and GIC’s going up much in coming months, years. I would say a 3.00%, 5 year GIC and 3.8% to 4.10% longer term provincial government strip bond yields are the most they will increase to.

    I have $145,000 in short term GIC’s and in higher interest savings account for 6 years in living expenses. I have had bad experiences with mutual funds and individual stocks. I know there are lower fee ETF’s and other index funds but I don’t care much for these as they are too complicated and I only invest in things I understand and can see tangible results with my money growing with compound interest.

    Reply

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