Investigate Before You Invest
While the vast majority of the stockbrokers, brokerage firms, investment advisers and investment adviser firms are honest and reputable, it pays to remember that just like many other professions, there are those individuals and firms who are not.
State and federal laws require brokers, advisers and firms to be registered or licensed. Canadian securities laws require anyone trading securities, or in the business of advising clients on securities, as well as the company they work for to be registered with their provincial or territorial securities commission, unless a registration exemption applies.
State securities regulators should be the first call for an investor before you turn over any money to a broker or investment adviser. You can access extensive employment, disciplinary, and registration information about your stockbroker or investment adviser through your state securities regulator.
Resources for U.S. Investors
Working with a broker? Ask for all materials from the Central Registration Depository (CRD) about your prospective stockbroker. This computerized database contains licensing and registration information on more than 630,000 securities professionals and 3,800 securities firms. You can request this information from your state securities regulator or check online through FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
Using an investment adviser? Ask for all materials from the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD). IARD helps investors research the employment and disciplinary histories of nearly 31,000 investment adviser firms and more than 350,000 individual investment adviser representatives. You can request this information from your state securities regulator or search the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website information on investment adviser representatives and firms registered with state securities regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Learn more about what is included in reports found on IAPD here.
Resources for Canadian Investors
The National Registration Search is a web-based tool that provides information about individuals and firms registered with securities regulatory authorities in Canada.
Registration information from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is not included in the national registration search, but is available through the OSC Registrant List.
Visit the Canadian Securities Administrator’s Registration page for more information on registration in Canada.