Investors versus Savers: Attitudes Towards Investing

September 29, 2022

Understanding factors that contribute to Canadians’ confidence in capital markets is important and part of a recent Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) study.

A few factors influence a person’s confidence in the markets. Attitudes and beliefs about the protection investors receive, fairness of capital markets, and the stability of the financial system all play a role.

A lack of confidence can lead people to avoid capital markets. This could diminish their ability to reach their financial goals. Growing wealth in traditional ways, such as with savings accounts or through Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), may not provide to enough growth for people to achieve their financial goals.

Increasingly, Canadians need to be more self-reliant in financing their retirement due to longer life expectancies, declining pension plans, and, until recently, low interest rates. This means it is critical for people to feel comfortable with capital markets and to optimize investing their savings to support a financially healthy retirement or other financial goals.

The OSC study explored attitudes and beliefs about our capital markets. Participants reviewed 30 statements. The study measured their degree of agreement with each statement. The responses were grouped into four themes:

  1. Importance of investing for creating wealth
  2. Fairness of capital markets
  3. Effectiveness of capital markets regulation
  4. Economic importance of capital markets

The study also compared the attitudes and beliefs of Investors{1} versus Savers.{2} We encourage you to focus on the differences in the responses of Investors versus Savers when reviewing the findings.{3}  Key findings of the study included:  

  • Investors were more likely than Savers to agree with most statements about the importance of capital markets for wealth creation.
  • Investors and Savers had significant differences in their opinions about the fairness of the stock markets. Savers were more likely to hold negative sentiments about the markets.
  • Investors were significantly more likely to agree with positive statements about the role of financial services professionals than Savers.
  • Investors had more positive attitudes and beliefs towards stock markets’ importance and role in our economy compared to Savers.
  • Savers were less likely to believe there is a relationship between the stock market and the economy.

The study was in the field from January 17 to February 9, 2021. It was a unique point in time, as the GameStop saga occurred during the second half of data collection and was in many news headlines.

Uncovering differences in people’s attitudes and beliefs about the markets can help the OSC’s Investor Office better target outreach and educational efforts to help people start their investing journey and meet their financial goals.

The OSC’s mandate includes providing protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, fostering fair, efficient and competitive capital markets and confidence in the capital markets, fostering capital formation, and contributing to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic risk.

Understanding Canadians’ attitudes and beliefs can help the OSC identify areas where more may need to be done to address concerns and to better inform Canadians about the soundness of our capital markets.


{1}Those who hold one of the following investment products: Individual stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, REITs, Bonds or notes other than Canada Savings Bonds, other securities or derivatives.

{2}Those who have at least $5,000 in either cash savings, Canada Savings Bonds, or Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs).

{3}The absolute scores of these responses are dependent on the wording of the statements and the point in time in which the data was collected, whereas the relative differences between Investors and Savers would be less likely influenced by these factors. Furthermore, there are no benchmarks for our findings with respect to each statement, so we would caution readers when interpreting the absolute scores.