Complaints & Inquiries Statistics

IIROC’s Complaints & Inquiries team handles all incoming public investor complaints and inquiries. Across Canada, the team answers general investment-related rule questions and regulatory complaints as well as:  

  • fielding trading halt and other trading-related inquiries

  • providing information about IIROC’s regulatory role

  • helping investors navigate through the complaint process

  • redirecting callers to other regulators or firms

  • providing compensation information to investors that deal with IIROC-regulated investment dealers

The C&I team gathers general statistics on the nature of incoming complaints and inquiries in order to inform various IIROC departments about problematic or trending situations so appropriate measures can be taken. We also provide general statistical information to IIROC-regulated dealers about the number and nature of complaints and inquiries received about them so that they may take appropriate corrective measures. Learn more about why IIROC publishes C&I statistics.

Regulatory complaints about IIROC dealers are referred to IIROC’s Enforcement department, while market complaints with the appearance of suspicious trading activity are forwarded to IIROC’s Trading Review & Analysis department (TR&A). These departments determine whether a matter warrants further action. Learn more about IIROC's Enforcement process and statistics.


Complaints & Inquiries statistics for fiscal years 2016 through 2018

(April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2018)

Total complaints and inquiries received

IIROC received a total of 10,451 complaints & inquiries (contacts) during the last 3 fiscal years. About 40% of those contacts related to the dealer firms we regulate. Just over a third were about trading on the Canadian debt and equity markets we monitor and the majority of the remaining contacts fall outside of IIROC's jurisdiction. In the latter case, we always try to redirect the person to the appropriate regulator or firm. In Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018, we have seen a significant increase in market-related contacts as well as contacts that fall outside of our jurisdiction.



Complaints & Inquiries received by IIROC regarding trading on Canadian equity and debt markets

IIROC averaged 1,163 contacts annually for the three most recent fiscal years regarding trading on Canadian debt and equity markets. Volumes of market-related complaints and inquiries spiked upward in the last half of the most recent fiscal year.




Most frequent market-related inquiries

By far, our most frequent market-related inquiries are about trading halts.



Most frequent market-related complaints

Over half of the complaints we receive about market activity are allegations of market manipulation. IIROC rules prohibit orders or trades that create a false or misleading appearance of trading activity (or interest in trading) or create an artificial bid, ask or sale price. This activity is considered manipulative and IIROC’s Surveillance staff use specialized systems to continuously monitor trading in real-time across multiple marketplaces to detect and pursue instances of suspicious or prohibited trading activity. While some complaints are well-founded, most often a more fulsome review by IIROC staff who have access to more information alleviates our concerns. When concerns remain, we forward the complaint information to our TR&A department. Learn how IIROC monitors and analyzes market activity.



Complaints and inquiries regarding IIROC-regulated firms

IIROC had an average of 1,415 contacts annually for the three most recent fiscal years regarding IIROC-regulated firms.




Regulatory vs. non-regulatory complaints and inquiries

Investors contact IIROC regarding both regulatory and non-regulatory matters. Regulatory matters are those that are subject to IIROC rules or securities law – for example, allegations of unsuitable investments or unauthorized trading. Non-regulatory matters pertain to issues such as poor customer service and general inquiries about dealer policies and procedures. Non-regulatory matters accounted for 38% of contacts during the three most recent fiscal years. Since non-regulatory matters do not fall under IIROC's purview, the investor should address these matters directly with the firm involved.




Most frequent inquiries about IIROC-regulated firms

The five most common topics of inquiries to IIROC by clients of IIROC-regulated firms account for 60% of all inquiries (3,053) in the three most recent fiscal years. Just over 25% of our inquiries are about filing a complaint, followed by rule questions and queries about dealer firm policies and procedures. Since many of these inquiries about filing a complaint are not regulatory in nature, they often do not result in a formal complaint to IIROC. The remaining queries cover a very broad range of topics. Learn how to file a complaint.




Most frequent complaints to IIROC about IIROC-regulated firms

The five most common topics of complaints to IIROC by clients of IIROC-regulated firms account for 42% of all complaints (1,492) received in the three most recent fiscal years. Our most common complaint is about unsuitable investments followed by firm policies and procedures and service issues – the latter two usually fall outside of IIROC rules and must be addressed directly with the firm in question. IIROC-regulated firms must notify IIROC of all regulatory complaints they receive and handle all complaints they receive according to prescribed standards contained within IIROC rules. Learn more about IIROC's complaints process.



Geographic location

The majority of inquiries and complaints come from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta. Ontario residents account for approximately 42% of the total complaints and inquiries received (where location is known). Note: The numbers in this chart do not match the total number of complaints and inquiries as only 57% of contacts provided IIROC with their location.



Age and gender

In cases where age was disclosed, we hear most often from those between 60 and 70 years old and we hear from men more than twice as often as women. Note: 30% of contacts disclosed their age while 67% of contacts disclosed their gender.






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