Is Your Money in the Right Hands?

You’re not alone. Many people are baffled by the smorgasbord of investment options on the market, and allow a financial advisor to have free reign over their investment portfolio. To make sure your money is safe put your advisor to the test with these questions.

Have you researched him?

Get the low-down on your advisor. His registration status, the types of investment products he is registered to sell, and any previous enforcement proceedings against him are public knowledge and easy to find. First connect to www.csa-acvm.ca or call 514-864-9510 to find your provincial securities commission. They’ll have the details.

Is he pushy?

One advisor said that you should start worrying if your financial planner is pushing a particular stock, especially one that has been in the dumps recently. Unscrupulous brokerage houses sometimes engage in what’s known as a pump-and-dump scheme: They highly recommend a stock to their customers, the price rises as those customers buy it up, and the brokers quickly sell their own shares of the stock behind the scenes, pocketing bucket loads of cash. It’s ugly, and it’s illegal, but it happens.

Does he crow about his “hot tips”?

Keep this in mind next time your financial planner tells you about some “undiscovered gem” of a stock: It’s almost certainly not “undiscovered.” The odds of any one knowing something the rest of them don’t know are slim to none. By the time the “secret” reaches you, chances are that the Bay Street highfliers have already made their move on the stock, leaving latecomers little chance of making a profit.

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