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Investor research and reports

The Investor Office, who lead the investor engagement, education, outreach and research efforts at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), prepares investor-related reports and conducts investor research.

Investor research is key to improving our knowledge and understanding of important investor needs and issues, and the Investor Office frequently researches topics relevant to investors. We employ a variety of methodologies in carrying out this research, from broad-based surveys to in-depth qualitative interviews and randomized control trials. Different methodologies allow us to gain different and complementary perspectives on trends and challenges facing retail investors.

Research Study: Protecting Aging Investors through Behavioural Insights

Protecting Aging Investors through Behavioural Insights identifies behaviourally informed techniques dealers and advisers can use to encourage their older clients to provide the necessary information for enhanced investor protection measures. The report also) identifies ways in which our decisions become more biased as we get older and includes the results of a randomized experiment that demonstrates how to reduce the effect of these biases.

Report cover Protecting aging investors through behavioural insights

Investor Experience Research Study

This study contains the results of a survey completed between March 30 and April 11 that explored several topics relevant to the retail investing experience in Canada including working with an advisor, understanding investments, avoiding investment fraud and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings include that nearly half of investors are experiencing increased levels of stress, most have had communications with their advisors, and few have sold more than 20% of their portfolios during the pandemic.

The Investor Experience research study cover page

Financial Literacy: A Foundation of the Investor Experience

This research about financial literacy tested investor knowledge of key topics including diversification, inflation, and interest. Preliminary results from this study reveal that 34 per cent of Canadians have high financial literacy and 24 per cent of investors may be overconfident in their knowledge.

Financial literacy: a foundation of the investor experience research study cover page

Improving Fee Disclosure through Behavioural Insights

Improving Fee Disclosure through Behavioural Insights identifies ways to improve how investment fees are communicated to investors by their registered dealers, advisers, and registered representatives (registrants). The report also includes the results of a randomized experiment that demonstrates how these tactics can make disclosures easier for investors to understand.

Improving Fee Disclosure through Behavioural Insights research study cover page

2018 National Investor Research Study

Key findings from this 2018 National Investor Research Study included:

  • Canadians aged 18-34 are the most likely to believe their standard of living will increase in retirement, despite being the least likely to have started saving for retirement of any age group
  • seven per cent of Canadian adults currently own cannabis investments, with 1 in 4 cannabis investors spending $10,000 or more on their investments
  • most Canadian adults with parents aged 45 or older say their parents have not talked to them about how they would like their finances managed if they were no longer able to do so

Read the full report or read the research summaries. 

National Investor Research Study 2018 cover page

Encouraging Retirement Planning through Behavioural Insights

Encouraging Retirement Planning through Behavioural Insights identifies ways in which government, regulators, employers, and financial institutions can apply behavioural insights to promote retirement planning. The report includes the results of a randomized experiment that found, among other things, that prompting individuals to think about the friends and family they will be able to spend more time with in retirement can be highly effective in motivating individuals to start the retirement planning process.

Encouraging Retirement Planning through Behavioural Insights

Getting Started: Human-Centred Solutions to Engage Ontario Millennials in Investing

This research study to engage Ontario millennials in investing outlined the barriers millennials face when attempting to learn more about or start investing, as well as tactics public and private organizations can employ to address these barriers. The study, prepared by Upside Consulting Group in collaboration with OSC staff, draws from nearly 30 hours of in-depth interviews with Ontarians in the millennial cohort, as well as a review of behavioural sciences literature and existing investing channels available to millennials.

Getting Started: Human-Centred Solutions to Engage Ontario Millennials in Investing research study cover page

Taking Caution: Financial Consumers and the Cryptoasset Sector

Taking Caution: Financial Consumers and the Cryptoasset Sector revealed that half of cryptoasset owners either didn’t know who regulates offerings of digital coins or tokens or believed that these offerings are unregulated. In addition, one-third said they wouldn’t know where to go if they had a complaint about a cryptoasset service provider. This report also explains how the OSC regulates any coin offerings that are securities offerings.

Taking Caution: Financial Consumers and the Cryptoasset Sector report cover page

OSC Staff Notice 11-779 Seniors Strategy

The OSC’s vision is a stronger and more secure financial future for all Ontario seniors. Our Seniors Strategy includes a comprehensive action plan of targeted policy, operational, research, educational, and outreach initiatives to ensure that older Ontarians’ needs are appropriately met by the OSC and the investment industry.

OSC Seniors Strategy report cover page

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies

As a first step towards learning more about who is purchasing cryptocurrencies and why, the Investor Office commissioned a small online survey of Ontarians aged 18 and over. Among the findings, 7 per cent of Ontarians reported owning a cryptocurrency, including 29 per cent of men aged 18 to 34.

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies research snapshot cover page

Missing Out: Millennials and the Markets

According to Missing Out: Millennials and the Markets, four of out five Ontario millennials (aged 18–36) are saving, but only one in two are investing. Top reasons non-investor millennials gave for avoiding investing included:

  • having other financial priorities
  • not having enough income or savings
  • not knowing enough about investing
  • concerns about losing money in the markets
Missing Out: Millennials and the Markets research report cover page

Investing As We Age

According to a the Investor Office survey Investing As We Age, the top financial concerns for 25 per cent of Ontarians age 45 and over are retirement-related, and almost half (45 per cent) of the homeowners in this group rely on the value of their home increasing to fund their retirement. The survey also found gender differences in reported knowledge, behaviour, and stress relating to financial planning among Ontarians 45 years and older, with half as many women (27 per cent) as men (51 per cent) reporting having “good” or “excellent” knowledge of investing.

Investing As We Age research study cover page

Behavioural Insights: Key Concepts, Applications, and Regulatory Considerations

Behavioural insights use psychological, economic, and other research to examine how consumers behave, and sometimes reveal that consumers are neither deliberate nor rational in their decisions in the way that traditional models, strategies, and policies assume. The Behavioural Insights report looks at how leading practitioners and regulators are using behavioural insights to address issues in capital markets and improve outcomes for investors and market participants.

Behavioural insights report cover page

Investor Office Activity Report 2015-16

The OSC launched its Investor Office in 2015 with an ambitious agenda. The Investor Office aimed to achieve better investor outcomes by expanding and modernizing the OSC’s efforts in investor engagement, research, education and outreach, and by bringing new perspectives to the organization’s policy-making and operations. Read all about our activities and results for the first year in Investor Office Activity Report for 2015-16.

Investor Office Activity Report 2015-2016 cover page

Retirement Readiness: Canadians 50+

Seniors are an extremely important and growing segment of investors whose needs and issues demand attention. Findings from Retirement Readiness: Canadian 50+, commissioned by the Investor Office of the OSC, revealed that over half of Canadians do not have a plan for retirement savings.

Retirement Readiness: Canadians 50+ report cover page

The Investor Perspective (OSC Staff Notice 11-773)

In everything we do, we look at things from the investor perspective. In these pages you will read more about who we are, what we do, and how we think.

The Investor Perspective report cover page

Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians

If older Canadians could take what they know now about the financial realities of retirement and apply that knowledge earlier in life, what would they do? This study provided some of those insights and more. Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians identified the main financial risks of Canadians aged 50 and up at each life stage and how they are being managed.

Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians report cover page

Investor Risk, Behaviour, and Beliefs

The Canadian Money State of Mind Risk Survey 2014: Investor Risk, Behaviour & Beliefs, a national study conducted for the Investor Education Fund (now part of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Office) by The Brondesbury Group, provides a compelling look at how Canadians handle – or don’t handle – risk, emotion, financial loss and decision-making when it comes to their investments.

Investor Risk, Behaviour and Beliefs report cover page

Home Equity as a Source of Retirement Income

According to a new survey conducted for the Investor Education Fund (now part of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Office) by The Brondesbury Group, Canadians are not saving enough for retirement, and half believe they will run out of their retirement savings in the first 10 years of retirement. Despite the lack of retirement savings, the survey revealed that four out of 10 respondents were not willing to consider capitalizing on home equity as an option for retirement income.

Home Equity as a Source of Retirement Income report cover page