PlanPlus Inc. has been hired by the Ontario Securities Commission’s (OSC) Investor Advisory Panel (IAP) to carry out research into the risk assessment practices of Canadian advisors and to compare Canadian practices with international best practices in this area, the Lindsay, Ont.-based company announced on Monday.
The IAP is an independent committee established by the OSC to provide the regulator with the retail investor perspective on both specific regulatory policy issues, and investor protection issues generally.
“The goal of this study is to better recognize the landscape of risk assessment in Canada in order to assist firms and advisors to achieve a better understanding of their clients,” PlanPlus said in statement.
The research will also include a review of the academic literature on the subject and review of global practices, in addition to surveys of Canadian firms. A report, including recommendations, is due to be released in the fall.
In the meantime, PlanPlus is asking firms and advisors to participate in an online survey examining their risk assessment practices on a confidential basis — participating firms and individuals will not be identified in the research, or to the IAP or OSC, the firm notes.
“To complete the research on current practices in Canada we need feedback from licensed MFDA and IIROC firms,” said Shawn Brayman, president and CEO of PlanPlus. “If you represent an interested firm we hope you will respond positively if we reach out to you. There is a short survey all firms are encourage to complete and a more detailed analysis of randomly selected firms.”
PlanPlus is also looking for feedback from individual advisors, and a short research survey for advisors will be distributed by both the trade associations and the self-regulatory organizations in Canada.
A copy of the survey can also be found at www.planplus.com/media/AdvisorRiskSurvey.pdf.
The issue of how advisors assess clients’ risk tolerance has long been important to both investor advocates and regulators. Last summer, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) issued a discussion paper on the use of investor questionnaires as a method of collecting know-your-client (KYC) information and carrying out risk assessments. That paper aimed to provide firms with guidance on using questionnaires to accurately collect and assess KYC information.