Businessman talking with financial advisor in bank
miodrag ignjatovic

New investors are increasingly taking the do-it-yourself route to enter the markets, according to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA).

The CSA’s latest investor survey finds the proportion of respondents working with a financial advisor has reached its lowest level, 61%, and is down by eight percentage points from 2020.

The decline was greatest in the 35–44 age group, which saw the share of respondents that use an advisor fall to 51% in 2024 from 66% in 2020.

Investors also indicated their reliance on advisors for information about investing has continued falling, dropping to just 43% in the latest survey from 70% in 2016.

Instead, investors are relying more on social media for investing information. The survey noted 53% of investors said that they use social media for investing information, up 18 percentage points from 2020.

“Notably, 82% of 18- to 24-year-old investors use social media, with YouTube, Instagram and TikTok being the most popular choices in this age group,” the survey said, adding that 46% reported encountering investment opportunities on social media, up 17 points from 2020.

And more investors are investing on their own.

The survey revealed 45% of investors said they have a DIY investing account, and that 30% of these investors opened their first account in the past two years.

The primary reason DIY investors gave for going it alone was that they enjoy managing their own money (31%). “Frequent investors [and] those with high knowledge are most likely to enjoy managing their own investments,” the survey noted.

Investors using direct investing services were largely satisfied with the experience. Only 5% said their investing had been unsuccessful, while 57% said they were mostly or fully successful.

“How Canadians research and manage their investments continues to change, with more investors seeking information from social media and turning to [DIY] investing,” said Stan Magidson, chair of the CSA and CEO of the Alberta Securities Commission, in a release.

The rise of DIY investing doesn’t seem to be a repudiation of advisors. Just 2% of respondents said they don’t value advice and 4% said they don’t trust advisors, while 11% said professional advice is too expensive.

Additionally, the proportion of investors with portfolios of at least $100,000 who use an advisor is largely unchanged from the previous survey.

Another shift the survey revealed is the rise of attempted investment fraud following years of decline.

Twenty-three percent of respondents reported having encountered potentially fraudulent investments, up by five points from 2020.

“While investment fraud has decreased in older demographics since 2006, reported fraud doubled with almost all other age groups,” the report said, noting that investors aged 18–24 saw the highest reported increase.

The survey was carried out in March by Innovative Research Group with a sample of 7,215 adults.