IIROC maintains statistics on the complaints it receives and the investigations and prosecutions it conducts. It also tracks disciplinary statistics for those complaints and matters that regulated firms are required to file to IIROC through the Complaints and Settlement Reporting System (ComSet). IIROC monitors this information to identify potential emerging regulatory issues in the industry it regulates.
Below you will find Complaints and Inquiries Statistics. If you are looking for Enforcement Statistics, please visit our Enforcement Statistics page.
Total complaints and inquiries received
IIROC received a total of 13,147 complaints1 & inquiries2 (contacts) from 2019 to 2021. Just over 70% of those contacts were about matters relating to the dealer firms we regulate (member) or about trading on the Canadian debt and equity markets (market) we monitor. Most of the remaining contacts (29%) fell outside of IIROC's jurisdiction3 (other). In this case, people are redirected to the appropriate regulator, firm or resource.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we experienced a significant increase in contacts from clients of Order-Execution-Only dealers4 , which is reflected in the overall volume increase and more specifically, in the increase in “Member” contacts.
- 1Complaints: a (typically) written expression of dissatisfaction.
- 2Inquiries: questions, comments or verbal expressions of dissatisfaction.
- 3IIROC only has jurisdiction over those individuals and firms that are registered with IIROC, and Canadian debt and equity markets. See Looking up an Investment Advisor or Firm and Markets We Regulate. Any complaints or inquiries not falling within these categories, nor about IIROC specifically, are included under “other”.
- 4Order-Execution-Only dealers, or OEO, are firms that provide services, but not advice, to DIY investors.
Complaints and inquiries regarding IIROC-regulated firms
IIROC averaged 1,736 contacts annually from 2019 to 2021 about IIROC-regulated firms.
Regulatory vs. non-regulatory complaints and inquiries
Investors contact IIROC for both regulatory and non-regulatory matters. Regulatory matters are subject to IIROC rules or securities law. For example, allegations of unsuitable investments or unauthorized trading. Non-regulatory matters are issues such as poor customer service and general inquiries about dealer policies and procedures. Non-regulatory matters accounted for over 60% of contacts from 2019 to 2021. Since non-regulatory matters do not fall under IIROC's mandate, 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 accounted for 56% of all such inquiries (3,255) from 2019 to 2021.
Many of these inquiries did not result in a formal complaint to IIROC since they were not regulatory in nature.
The remaining inquiries covered a broad range of topics. Learn more about making a complaint.
*Note: each inquiry may involve more than one topic, thus appearing under multiple categories.
Most frequent complaints about IIROC-regulated firms
The five most common topics of complaints to IIROC by clients of IIROC-regulated firms account for 64% of all such complaints (1,952) received from 2019 to 2021.
Of these complaints, only unsuitable investments and account transfers are generally considered to be regulatory matters, with the remainder generally falling outside of IIROC jurisdiction. Matters that aren’t subject to IIROC rules must be addressed directly by the client to 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.
*Note: each complaint may involve more than one allegation, thus appearing under multiple categories
Market-related complaints and inquiries
IIROC averaged 1,430 contacts annually from 2019 to 2021 regarding trading on Canadian debt and equity markets.
UMIR vs. non-UMIR complaints and inquiries
Investors contact IIROC regarding both matters that are subject to the Universal Market Integrity Rules (UMIR) and those that are not. Under Recognition Orders issued by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and by agreement with the marketplaces, IIROC monitors all equity and debt market activity on all Canadian marketplaces, including stock exchanges and alternative trading systems, to detect manipulative trading practices and other breaches of the marketplace trading rules.
Our goal is to ensure trading complies with UMIR and other IIROC rules. Matters that are not subject to UMIR (or other IIROC rules), such as cease-trade orders, listed company activity and disclosures, fall outside of IIROC’s jurisdiction. These non-UMIR matters accounted for almost 50% of contacts (excluding halt inquiries) during the three most recent years. Since non-UMIR matters do not fall under IIROC's mandate, the investor should address these matters directly with the principal regulator for the issuer (see SEDAR) or the exchange.
Most frequent market-related inquiries
The top five market-related inquiries accounted for over 70% of all such inquiries (2,371). By far, our most frequent market-related inquiries are about trading halts, even though we are not able to provide information about specific halts beyond that obtained in the halt notice that is published on our website and through various news services. We also hear from the public about listed company issues and cease-trade orders (CTOs), which do not fall under IIROC’s jurisdiction.
IIROC’s market-related jurisdiction encompasses monitoring trading on Canadian marketplaces for compliance with the Universal Market Integrity Rules (UMIR). IIROC does not have jurisdiction over public companies or their directors, officers or employees.
See more about UMIR here.
*Note: each inquiry may involve more than one topic, thus appearing under multiple categories. CTO = Cease Trade Order
Most frequent market-related complaints
The top five market-related complaints accounted for over 70% of all such complaints (1,918). The largest number of the complaints 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 about the trades in question and the parties involved, alleviates our concerns. When concerns remain, we forward the complaint information to our Trading Review & Analysis (TR&A) department.
*Note: each complaint may involve more than one topic, thus appearing under multiple categories.
Order-execution-only (OEO) vs. advisory contacts
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, IIROC has experienced a significant increase in the number of contacts by clients of OEO dealers.
*Note: for the purposes of this chart, we have excluded other registration categories so these totals won’t equal the total contacts IIROC received. In addition, not all contacts (such as market-related contacts) provide this information.
Most inquiries and complaints come from Ontario, British Columbia, Québec, and Alberta.
Age and gender
In cases where age and gender were disclosed, we have seen an increase in contacts from investors under 60 years old, which may correspond to the increase in DIY (do-it-yourself) investing. We hear from males more often than females.