If you believe your advisor or firm has broken IIROC rules, or that trading on a Canadian marketplace is contrary to IIROC rules, we want to hear from you.
To make a complaint, you should first ask: is my advisor or firm regulated by IIROC or does my complaint involve trading on an IIROC-regulated marketplace.
If the answer to these questions is no, there may be other avenues you can take.
If the answer is yes, you should start by complaining directly to your firm. All firms we regulate must follow IIROC rules for handling complaints.
You can also contact IIROC directly by:
IIROC staff will not respond to abusive or offensive communications.
IIROC records all calls to and from Complaints & Inquiries team telephone lines.
What information should I provide?
The more specific and factual the information you include the better. There are often multiple issues that go along with allegations of misconduct however, details beyond the facts, while they may be important to you, will not usually help us in our review of your complaint.
The most important information is your name and contact – though IIROC can accept anonymous complaints.
Include details on how, when and why you encountered problems, as well as details of the security and trade involved if applicable. And keep a file of documents relating to your account and specific issue. Of course, you should include the name and location of the firm or advisor.
Feel free to ask us questions. Our Complaints and Inquiries team may ask you for additional information too.
What happens after I file a complaint with IIROC?
After you file a complaint with IIROC, we will let you know we have received it and we will update you after we’ve reviewed your complaint and determined whether to proceed with an investigation.
If we find a breach of IIROC rules, sanctions can include fines, suspensions or bans.
What are common complaints?
Common complaints include:
- an advisor buying or selling investments without your approval
- an advisor recommending investments that are not suitable for you (for example, investments that are too risky)
- account transfer delays
- manipulative trading activity
While IIROC monitors trading on Canadian marketplaces, IIROC has no jurisdiction over the public companies that trade on those markets. You should direct complaints about the non-trading activity of companies to the provincial securities commission that is the principal regulator for the company. You can find that information at sedar.com.
IIROC also receives many complaints about customer service issues, such as difficulty getting in touch with an advisor or firm. IIROC does not regulate customer service. You should send those types of complaints directly to your firm. Under IIROC rules, if you put your service complaint in writing, the firm must provide you with a written response.
If your client account agreement has a clause either completely excluding your advisor’s or firm’s liability for any account losses, relieving your advisor or the firm from any regulatory obligation or setting arbitrary limits to your ability to recover damages, these clauses may not be appropriate. Read this Guidance Note for more information.
What if I lost money?
While IIROC can’t get your money back, if you’ve lost money and you think it’s because your investment advisor or firm acted improperly, there are options, from using an ombudsman to arbitration to court. You can find more information here. Note: IIROC-regulated firms must participate in the OBSI or arbitration process if a client chooses this route.
Apart from complaints regarding regulated advisors, firms or trading on Canadian markets, IIROC’s Complaints & Inquiries team often redirects investors to other regulators and answers general questions, such as those about:
IIROC’s Whistleblower service
IIROC has a whistleblower service for anyone with first-hand knowledge or evidence of potential fraud or misconduct by an IIROC-regulated firm or individual that doesn’t involve their own personal investment account. Remember, check first to see if IIROC regulates the person or firm.
For quick reference, you can download our brochures: Making a Complaint: A Guide for Investors (Part 1 of 2, pdf) and How Can I Get My Money Back? A Guide for Investors (part 2 of 2, pdf) or see our bulletin for investors who choose the “do-it-yourself” route (pdf).