Registration categories

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 tradeTrade The process where one person or party buys an investment from another.+ read full definition in or give advice about investments. They refer to different registrationRegistration A requirement for any person or company trading investments or providing advice in Canada. Securities industry professionals are required to register with the securities regulator in each province or territory where they do business.+ read full definition 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 portfolioPortfolio All the different investments that an individual or organization holds. May include stocks, bonds and mutual funds.+ read full definition.
  • 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 plannerFinancial planner An individual who looks at your financial situation and builds a complete plan to help you reach your goals. The process may cover: financial planning, risk management, investment planning, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.+ read full definition, investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition 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)Certified Financial Planner (CFP) A financial planning professional who helps individuals with their financial goals in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, retirement, and more.+ read full definition, 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 titleTitle The legal right to own or hold an item.+ read full definition. Learn what these titles mean, and what education and experience is required to get one.

Dealer and adviser qualifications

Learn what different dealer and adviser categories mean using this infographic that shows what they’re allowed to sell and what individual requirements are needed to qualify.

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 fundMutual fund An investment that pools money from many people and invests it in a mix of investments such as stocks and bonds. A professional manager chooses investments that match the fund’s goals for risk and return. You can redeem your fund units at any time.+ read full definition 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 investInvest To use money for the purpose of making more money by making an investment. Often involves risk.+ read full definition with, and ask these questions.

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