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Researching investments and your adviser

You know yourself, investment style, your goals and your risk tolerance. You’re ready to invest your money. But there are a lot of choicesstocks (shares), bonds, mutual funds, private investments, real estate (to name just a few) . How do you choose the right investment(s) for you?

A simple way to remember what to do when thinking about investing is to Check, Protect, then Invest when looking at any investment opportunity so you can make informed investment decisions.

CHECK: Ask the right questions and do the research to help you make an informed decision

Every type of investment has its own pros and cons, and you need to understand them in order to make a wise investing decision. Questions you should consider when checking out an investment opportunity include:

  • Is the person or company offering you the investment opportunity registered?
  • Has there been any history of enforcement action or fraud?
  • How much risk is involved? Is the company and opportunity real and/or right for me?

Registration:  An individual or firm selling securities or offering investment advice must be
registered with the securities regulator in their province or territory to do so. Keep in mind that just because a person or company is registered doesn’t mean the investment is right for you.

Enforcement history:  Be sure to look up current and previous enforcement proceedings, decisions, and orders to see if there is any disciplinary history for a company or individual offering you an investment.

History: The internet is an easy way to check out an investment opportunity. Search key terms like “fraud” and the name of the individual/company offering you the investment to get instant access to news and other information you may want to further investigate.

The opportunity and company: Know what you’re investing in. Read any reports or information about the company to gain a better understanding of what the investment is offering in terms of potential risk and return. This includes company documents as well as any independent analyst reports.

Always take the time to do your investment homework, using reliable sources of information. Ask questions and learn about the companies in which you’re investing. And make sure that the investment is right for you, based on your own investment profile and goals.

PROTECT: Recognize the pros and cons and watch for the red flags of fraud

Every type of investment has its own pros and cons, and you need to understand them in order to make a wise investing decision. It is also beneficial to consider whether the investment is too good to be true. Does something seem off? Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Protect your hard-earned money by being informed. Without taking the time to conduct proper research, you may be exposed to an unsuitable investment or fraud that could be financially crippling.

The impact of investment fraud can be devastating. Beyond the financial strain, becoming a victim of investment fraud can harm your overall well-being, your relationships and the trust you place in others. Hear the stories of individuals who have been affected by investment fraud and remember – anyone can become a victim.

The first step in avoiding fraud is knowing how to identify it. Check out these resources to recognize and avoid common investment scams.

INVEST: Make the decision and monitor your investments

Just remember that your work doesn’t end here. It is important to review your investments periodically to determine if they are still suitable given any changes in your financial plans or personal situation. Don’t forget that any new investments should be checked using the same thorough approach.

And don’t stop learning. Investments change. Make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest emerging trends, financial terms and investment risks. We’ve put together a helpful set of resources to help you refine your financial skills and protect you from fraud.

Reviewing your investments

Equally important as researching investments upon initial purchase is reviewing your investments over time and assessing progress towards your goals.

Over time, life events happen, and when they do, there can be financial consequences that come with them. For example, do you have a new marital or employment status? Have you introduced a new baby into your family? Are you closer to retirement? As you age, Investing goals and risk tolerance may change: while before you may have been willing to take higher risk investments that may give higher returns, you may now be looking for more stable options that provide growth or income. This can change your financial plans and goals.

Consider how much you have invested, the growth you wanted and what your investment is worth today.  This should give you an idea of whether or not you’re on track. If you’re not, you may choose to make changes to your investments.