Under securities law, there are two main categories for registration: dealers and advisors. The terms “dealer” and “adviser” are legal terms that describe a broad range of people who can deal in (trade) or give advice about securities. They may use a variety of titles, such as investment advisor or financial advisor, financial planner, investment consultant or investment specialist. These titles are not legally defined terms or official registration categories.
A person’s registration is more informative than their title because it tells you the type of products or services they can offer. For example, a person registered as a mutual fund dealing representative can sell and provide product advice on mutual funds, but they are not qualified to sell or provide advice on stocks or bonds. Registration granted by the OSC is not an endorsement, but is a minimum requirement for companies or persons advising or trading in securities with Ontario residents.
Registered firms and individuals must follow rules and policies of the OSC, or the self-regulatory organization, such as IIROC, or the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada, as applicable, depending on the category of registration. Before using the services of a financial advisor, always check their registration.