Personal Investor: Where to turn if you've been wronged by an advisor
Investment advisors can make the difference between a good retirement and a great retirement. On rare occasions, they can ruin a retirement.
When investors feel they’ve been wronged by an advisor, there are several options to file a complaint, and in some cases correct the problem. Before getting to that stage, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) urges investors to start by addressing their concern with the specific advisor. If the problem is not resolved, all investment firms are required to have a complaints process that includes putting the complaint in writing and stating the desired outcome. Do you want an apology? Do you want money credited to your account?
If that doesn’t work, there are four industry organizations that might be able to help:
- Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments: OBSI is a free, independent service for resolving banking issues and investment disputes. You have up to 180 days after receiving the firm’s response to get in touch with OBSI. It can recommend compensation for up to $350,000.
- Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada: IIROC oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada. It sets and enforces market integrity rules regarding the proficiency, business, and financial conduct of dealer firms and their registered employees.
- Mutual Fund Dealers Association: The MFDA regulates mutual fund dealers and their salespeople. You can find a complete list of regulated firms on the MFDA website.
- Provincial securities commission: Investment dealers are regulated in the province they operate. Most operate in Ontario, which means the OSC overseas most capital market activity. The OSC investigates possible violations of Ontario securities law, complaints against public companies, and complaints against dealers and advisors that are not members of IIROC or MFDA.
If none of these work, you may want to consult a lawyer to get advice on your rights and options. Your provincial law society can help you find a lawyer.