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Dealers and advisers – know the difference
“Dealer” and “adviser” aren’t just titles – they’re legal terms that describe a range of people who can trade in or give advice about investments. They refer to different registration categories and come with distinct education and experience requirements.
- Dealers can buy and sell investments for you, but they have to get your permission first.
- Advisers can give you advice and manage your portfolio.
- Firms and individuals can be registered as both dealers and advisors – they can also be registered for different things (for example, to offer a wide range of products and services).
Not all titles are created equal
Titles like financial advisor, financial planner, investment consultant, and investment specialist aren’t legally defined terms or official registration categories. Some advisers or dealers may have designations that allow them to use specific titles, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Checking registration tells you what specific products and services they are (and aren’t) qualified to offer you, regardless of title. Learn what these titles mean, and what education and experience is required to get one.
Where advisers and dealers earn their qualifications
- Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) Global Education Inc. – The CSI provides courses for people who are or want to become registered dealers or advisors and those who want to be registered mutual fund salespeople. Learn more about the CSI.
- CFA Institute – Provides courses for people who want to be registered advisors. Learn more about the CFA Institute.
- IFSE Institute – Provides courses for individuals who want to be registered mutual fund dealers or exempt market dealers. Learn more about IFSE.
Being registered is not a guarantee that the person you deal with will always give you good advice or act ethically. Carefully choose who you invest with, and ask these questions.