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Tool that lets investors check on their adviser proves popular

Customer feedback form.

Nigel Carse/Getty Images/iStockphoto/Nigel Carse/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Investors are taking a real liking to a new online way to check up on their adviser.

Since AdvisorReports began a year ago, investors have asked for more than 60,000 reports on financial advisers, says the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, which offers the service.

The free online reports let investors peer into the professional background of their adviser, checking on whether their adviser has been reprimanded, the services or products she is approved to offer, and her employment and educational history.

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"We firmly believe, and the numbers confirm, that there is a demand for effective investor tools like the IIROC AdvisorReport," said Lucy Becker, vice-president of Public Affairs for IIROC.

"We expected it would help investors do due diligence on their adviser and provide a valuable service, whether they're choosing someone to work with or want to check up on the background of an existing adviser," she says. "We would urge all investors to try the service out."

Ms. Becker says the organization expects the number of reports run each year will increase as more people become aware of the resource, which allows investors to check on more than 22,000 investment advisers at more than 200 regulated investment dealers in Canada.

While some of the searches have been done by advisers checking out their own file, or organizations making a query about a potential employee, more and more searches are being done people identifying themselves as investors, says Ms. Becker.

To check out your adviser, follow this link and then click on the Start Search button at the bottom and follow the prompts to type in the name of your adviser and the company she works for.

IIROC also has other resources on its website to help investors. There's a brochure which explains what the organization does and how it regulates advisers and investment firms, and a search of a database of disciplinary cases.

There's also a way to search other regulators to see whether your adviser has been disciplined by other organizations.

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There's also tips for working with a financial adviser and a brochure about understanding the equity market.

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About the Author
Assistant Editor, Globe Investor

Gillian Livingston started her journalism career at The Gazette at Western University. She's worked for The Financial Post, Dow Jones Newswires and The Canadian Press as a reporter for news, business, markets and Ontario politics. More

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