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In a survey commissioned by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), respondents were split on how they preferred to pay financial advisors, and a plurality indicated they weren’t on board with any of the given options.

The survey, conducted in January of this year and released Wednesday, aimed to find out how clients in Ontario get their financial advice, how they prefer to pay for it, and whether they face any barriers in accessing it. In a release, FSRA said the results will help inform policy as insurance regulators across the country consider compensation arrangements, such as upfront commissions (e.g., advisor chargebacks).

A third (33%) of the 1,007 Ontarians polled worked with financial professionals such as financial advisors, the survey found. (“Financial advisor” was used broadly to describe someone who provides investment recommendations and retirement planning.)

When asked to choose payment options, 25% said they would prefer to pay the advisor 3% of the amount invested up front, and have the insurer pay the advisor ongoing commissions. Another quarter (24%) chose the indirect method: having the insurer pay the advisor up front as well as the ongoing commissions. Another quarter (24%) chose none of the given options, while 19% chose the fee-based option — specifically, paying the advisor 1.5% annually out of money invested. The remaining 8% of respondents chose “other.”

Results among those not working with advisors were similar, though a greater proportion (32%) chose none of the options, and a smaller proportion (17%) chose indirect payment.

For all respondents (advised and not), the top response was none of the options (29%).

Most respondents working with advisors (61%) paid them indirectly through embedded fees, the survey found; yet, only 48% said this was their preferred payment method (among the three choices of embedded fees, directly out-of-pocket and based on amount invested). About a third (31%) preferred fees based on amount invested.

Most respondents overall (both advised and not) agreed that the cost of advice should be based on the advisor’s time and effort (64%).

As far as barriers to advice, the majority of respondents (60%) working with advisors didn’t experience any. Among the proportion who did, 17% cited lack of confidence in finding the right advisor. Among respondents assessed in the survey as “highly vulnerable” based on factors related to such things as health and capability, 64% said they weren’t confident about finding the right advisor.

In addition to shaping policy, the poll results will be used to consider ways to remove barriers and challenges preventing vulnerable groups from accessing financial advice, FSRA said in the release.