Heightened levels of regulation have certainly been a double-edged sword across the financial services industry over the past year.
However, in Canada, a majority of investors seem to favor this trend, per a recent study from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).
Brokers have indeed been forced to adjust their operations to a more regulated playing field.
Nowhere is this truer than in Europe and Australia, which have, in turn, seen a wave of brokers move to offshore jurisdictions.
In Canada, this shift has been far less pronounced, with North American markets already ranking amongst the most regulated globally. The safety net afforded by regulations, however, is seen as a net positive, at least for domestic investors.
According to the study, 87% of active investors and 67% of aspiring investors feel it’s important that investment advice comes from a regulated firm or individual.
According to Kathy Engle, IIROC’s Vice-President, Strategy, “It is encouraging that most Canadian investors are confident that the investment industry in Canada is properly regulated, although it is concerning that those who are not yet investing are far less confident.”
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The IIROC, together with The Strategic Counsel, managed to survey upwards of 2,000 current investors as well as aspiring investors.
Other notable findings
The survey also found that more than 75% of current investors are confident that Canada’s investment industry was properly regulated 48% of aspiring investors were confident.
Additionally, just 31% of current investors and 44% of aspiring investors believe online advice has less regulatory protections than advice received from a human.
Indeed, “The more we understand Canadians’ perceptions of regulation in the investment industry, the better we can address concerns, helping investors gain better access to the advice they need to achieve their financial goals,” explained Ms. Engle.
Out of all demographics surveyed, senior investors, or those above 65 years of age, were least likely (8%) to access an automated online investment tool or service for information or advice.
The study oversaw a wide range of indicators across the Canadian investing population. For its part, the IIROC regulates the proficiency, business, and financial conduct of more than 29,000 employees at more than 170 investment firms across the country.
“IIROC wants to make its regulation more agile and more proportionate to meet Canadians’ changing financial needs and expectations – all the while ensuring that investors remain protected, no matter how they choose to seek advice and consume financial services,” reiterated Andrew J. Kriegler, IIROC’s President and CEO in an accompanying statement.