OSC’s Investor Advisory Panel Releases Survey Findings on Adviser/Investor Relationship

For Immediate Release IAP

(Toronto, Ontario) – The Investor Advisory Panel (IAP) today released “Strengthening Investor Protection in Ontario - Speaking with Ontarians”. The study, conducted on behalf of the IAP and the Investor Education Fund (IEF), explores the views of more than 2,000 Ontario investors regarding their relationships with their financial advisers and how they perceive and use investment product information and advice.

“This investor research will inform and support our recommendations to the Ontario Securities Commission regarding future statements of priorities,” said IAP Chair Paul Bates. “The research will also inform our positions regarding investor protection initiatives, including the introduction of a statutory best interest duty to replace the current inadequate suitability regime and reforms to mutual funds’ compensation structures in Canada”. 

Highlights of the study include: 

  • While investors generally trust the advice of their financial advisers, two things highlight the skepticism that many investors feel. Only 20% of investors strongly agree that they generally trust their financial adviser’s advice and 25% strongly agree (39% agree- 64% overall) that how a financial adviser is paid impacts the recommendations that they receive. Advisers need to give their clients greater assurance that their best interest is being served.
  • There is strong support for a statutory best interest duty: 93% agree that it is needed (with 59% strongly agreeing that it is needed).
  • Investors want strengthened regulation of financial advisers, including clearer professional standards on use of the title, rigorous educational requirements and ethics training, and stricter regulatory enforcement of the rules.
  • An investor/adviser power imbalance exists for most but is particularly problematic for those who lack confidence in their financial literacy. This places advisers in a powerful position. The majority (58%) rely on their financial adviser as their main source of information. More than four in ten do not know how their adviser is being paid.

The project was initiated and directed by the IAP and the IEF and received administrative support and funding from the Ontario Securities Commission. The IAP and IEF Project Team- IEF President Tom Hamza and IAP Past Chair Anita Anand, former IAP member Steve Garmaise, current IAP Chair Paul Bates and current IAP member Nancy Averill- engaged Ascentum Inc. to conduct the research project. 2,030 Ontarians from the Ekos Probit research panel participated in the online survey and 52 participants took part in one of two in-person dialogue sessions. In addition to the quantitative data generated by the online survey, nearly 82,000 words of qualitative text were analyzed, roughly the same length as one and a half copies of “The Wealthy Barber Revisited”. The findings and analysis are intended to support and inform the work of the Investor Advisory Panel and the Investor Education Fund in their efforts to strengthen investor protection and investor education in Ontario. 

The Investor Advisory Panel is an independent body established by the Ontario Securities Commission in 2010. Its mandate is to represent the views of retail investors to the OSC in its rule and policy making process.

The full study and accompanying documents (Choicebook and Dialogue Guide) are available on line.





Contact:     Paul Bates
Chair, Investor Advisory Panel
[email protected]
905-525-9140, ext 20512