Is Your Dealer or Advisor Registered with a Canadian Securities Regulator? Better Check!

dreamstime_s_26899596Many people often ask how they can check whether an individual or firm is  registered as a dealer and/or advisor  in different jurisdictions in Canada.  The simple answer is you can easily do this by checking the website of the Ontario Securities Commission (the OSC) for Ontario registrants and the website of the Canadian Securities Administrators (the CSA) for all other jurisdictions in Canada.


The Home Page of the OSC  has a button called Check Registration.  You can type in the name of the firm and verify its registration in Ontario.  You can also identify the individuals who are registered with that firm and any terms and conditions of registration.  You can also check an individual’s registration even if you do not know what firm they work for. Unfortunately, the OSC database does not provide any mailing or e-mail addresses.  Now outside of Ontario, you have to check NRD on the CSA’s website.

Canada (Other than Ontario)

The CSA maintains a separate National Registration Database (NRD) for securities registrations across Canada where one can check a firm’s and/or individual’s registration status.  The CSA website allows you to search by:

  • firm name;
  • individual name;
  • registration category (e.g., exempt market dealer);
  • jurisdiction in Canada (other than Ontario);
  • the date of registration;
  • status (active, historical, suspended, historical prior to September 20, 2009);  and
  • any terms and conditions and contact information.

You can also check whether a firm and/or individual was disciplined by searching the CSA’s Disciplined Person’s Website.

Need for a single searchable national registration database

It would be nice to have a searchable national registration database across Canada but unfortunately,  in the absence of a national securities regulator, one has to check in two places as discussed above.  Fair Canada, an investor protection group, wrote an open letter to the CSA advocating for a single unified database which simply makes good sense.  A copy of the letter can be found here.  As Fair Canada stated in its letter,

“Regulators need to provide a single, national comprehensive background check that Canadians can easily use to check the background, registration status, proficiency and disciplinary history of registrants. The system should also include self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) membership information (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada(“IIROC”) and Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada).”

Check Registration Day

On March 26, 2013, all CSA members promoted a Check Registration Day which encouraged investors to take the time to check the registration of any firm or individual selling securities or offering investment advice.  The CSA also recently published a news release encouraging investors to Check Before You Invest.

What a good idea!

Speak Your Mind