How Billions of Dollars Disappear From Canadian Investors...Seven Steps
Author's Video Note:
Sadly the Securities regulators in Canada place obstacles in front of the public, by suggesting that investors need determine IF their 'advisor is registered, while concealing the two most important elements. The essential elements of financial safety would be instead, to learn NOT IF, but HOW they are registered. Then to become informed as to the difference between a legal registration category, and the non-legal 'title', which is most frequently used used to deceive Canadians.
Downtown Calgary "advisors" found hiding true registration category, holding 'sales', (Dealing Rep) license, instead of 'adviser', license.
By a Canadian investment malpractice analyst
I accepted a challenge from a reporter out west the other day, after I told them that 96% of people who claim ‘trusted advisor” status in Canada do not hold the license, nor the legal duty of a registered adviser. ("adviser" is the legal spelling found in the Securities Act, while regulators say "advisor" is a mere title which anyone can use without being licensed)
I set out to see if I could find a single licensed advisor or adviser, in downtown Calgary, and to share the results. After two hours on the government authorized registrant check site (www.aretheyregistered.ca). I found that 100% of the advisors in three downtown Calgary bank-owned investment offices held no adviser license or registration. Instead the category of license/registration was in a salesperson capacity, (Dealing representative registration).
The Small Investor Protection Association of Canada, (www.sipa.ca) has recently searched the entire country, and found that approximately 96% of persons who promise or imply financial “advisor” services to the public, carry only the 'salesperson' registration (dealing representative).
I find it amazing that Canadian’s life savings could be deceived into placing trust and money with licensed salespersons, and I outline the steps to this deception below:
Step One: Capture regulatory bodies by ensuring they are selected and compensated by the investment industry itself. This has the effect of having a private ‘regulatory’ force…to police ones own financial behaviour. This step is essential (and valuable) if the public is to be perfectly deceived.
Step Two: Pay these ‘regulators’ highly enough to ensure that they know who they are supposed to serve. The twelve highest paid employees among Canada’s Securities Commissions shared compensation approaching $16 million dollars over the two year span of 2015 and 2016.
Step Three: Hide the registration and agency-duty (or lack of duty), of 100,000 industry salespersons (Dealing Representatives) so that investors mistakenly assume they are dealing with a well regulated professional ‘adviser’ and hand over their retirement money willingly. The public is never told they have a salesperson, and the regulators never enforce the “misrepresentation” portions of Securities Acts. (Source data on public record)
Step Four: Commission sales agents (Dealing Representatives as opposed to lawful “Advisers”) use the deception in step three, to sell investment products of greater advantage to the dealer, and less advantage to their customers. (these salespersons can sell products and give advice based on the lowest agency-duty standard, called the “suitability” standard, rather than the highest standard of the “fiduciary” adviser)
Step Five: Without needing adherence to the fiduciary standards of a true adviser, they can also sell the public billions of dollars of investment ‘products’, some of which might be improper, illegal, or tainted in some way, in much the same manner as allowing ‘factory defective’ products to be sold to consumers. This is done by receiving from the regulators, “exemption” from the laws of the Securities Act. (Source data on public record.)
Step Six: Securities Commissions typically grant thousands of exemptions to public protective laws, in near secrecy from investors and without demonstrated protocol or process.
Step Seven: Provincial Finance Ministers, or those in government authority, are intimidated by the thought of trying to stop the financial harvesting of Canadians, and choose to ignore the misconduct instead. Or as they say in Alberta, “shoot, shut up and shovel”, to protect the political party, while burying the public interest. (partial source data on record)
Results: Systemic investment misconduct and malpractice can do financial harm to Canadians, of $25 to $50 Billion (or more) each and every year, with most of this money ending up on the profit statements of our trusted financial institutions. (Stats and partial source data on public record.) What if this is the largest, hidden economic drain, in all of Canada?
In comparison, the financial harms/costs to Canada of the millions of cases of ‘street’ crimes in Canada is estimated to be around $50 Billion each year, according to Justice Canada and Statistics Canada. (Source data on public record.)
Q: Who is protecting Canadians from systemic financial exploitation, misconduct, and malpractice?
A: I have found no person or agency who is paid a salary to protect Canadians, willing to risk that salary and speak out about these industry exploitations.
This is a financial story, a political story, and a story of a two-tier system of justice. One for the highest status financial corporations, and another for everyone else.
Larry Elford, former CFP, CIM, FCSI, Associate Portfolio Manager,
Misconduct and Malpractice Analyst
In response to these and other efforts, the Alberta Securities Commission released this consumer warning which compares the "dealing representative' to a car salesperson at an auto dealership. Unfortuntely, most investors will never discover this muted warning.
Alberta Finance Ministers who act in charge of the Alberta Securities Commission have done the "shoot, shut up and shovel" act, to bury any political scandal about this facade public protective regulator. I have experienced this no matter the political leanings or colours. Having contacted ministers from Shirley McLellan to NDP's Joe Ceci, and not one of the nine Alberta Finance Ministers over the last decade have moved to stop the robbery of investors. Nor in any of the other 12 Canadian provinces and territories... Political self preservation?