General public

What is the difference between the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and the Chambre de la sécurité financière?
The AMF regulates the financial products and services industry. It ensures that the Chambre de la sécurité financière fulfills its mission to protect consumers.

The Chambre oversees the representatives’ business ethics and its members’ professional development.
How can I become a financial sector professional ?
The Autorité des marchés financiers is the entity in charge of issuing the practise's rights. It will give you all the information on the skills required and the steps to follow to get your right to practise in the sectors or registration categories of your choice. Call the AMF at 1-877-525-0337 or visit its website at www.lautorite.qc.ca, “a future professional” section.
What is a financial needs analysis (FNA) ?
A financial needs analysis is a document that an insurance professional must prepare before he has his clients take out an insurance policy. A FNA must contain all the information required by the Regulation respecting the pursuit of activities as a representative. It must include the policies the client holds, their features, the name of the insurers and any other necessary information such as income, financial balance sheet, number of dependents, personal and family obligations, etc.

The professional is obliged to complete a FNA, and it is recommended that it be regularly updated (once a year or each time an important event occurs in the client’s life such as marriage, death, birth, career change, etc.).
What is an investor profile ?
Just like a FNA, an investor profile must be completed before securities are purchased. It must include the client’s age, occupation, annual income, net worth, level of investment knowledge and investment goals.

There is no set time for updating an investor profile, but we recommend an annual update as per industry practice.
Can a financial sector professional charge fees ?
Yes but, under the law, the client must be informed of the fees before the mandate is carried out.
I want to give someone the power to manage my money. What do I need to do?
We invite you to read the Sample Power of Attorney prepared by the Groupe de travail pour la protection des personnes vulnérables (task force for the protection of vulnerable persons), which clearly explains the scope of a power of attorney.
How can I check whether my financial sector professional is a member of the Chambre de la sécurité financière ?
The professionals duly authorized to act in the disciplines and registration categories under the surveillance of the Chambre de la sécurité financière are automatically members of the Chambre.

The register thus contains the coordinates of some 32.000 members of the Chambre who work in the disciplines and registration categories under its overseeing.

Maintained by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) on its website, this register allows the public to check whether a person or a business is entitled to pursue activities in the financial products and services sector.

To access the register, click here.

How can I check whether my financial sector professional was ever imposed penalties?
To verify whether a representative has ever had disciplinary sanction in his or her file, visit the Disciplinary Committee Decisions page.
I am dissatisfied about my representative’s work. What can I do?
  1. If you are concerned or unhappy with your representative’s work: try to obtain details from the representative on the products he or she sold you. Explain what it is you are not happy with.
  2. Review your financial situation as well as your financial expectations or goals with him or her. Review your financial needs analysis (for insurance product) or your investor profile (for securities). The additional information provided by both parties will probably be enough to improve the situation.
  3. If you are still not happy, you can approach the firm your representative is associated with to try to speak with another representative or the firm’s manager.
  4. If the above steps have not yielded results, complete the Request for investigation Form, and send it to the Chambre de la sécurité financière.
How do I file a complaint against a professional ?
You must complete the Request for investigation Form and return it to the address indicated.

What is the course of an investigation?
The investigation process begins with the receipt of a request from a consumer, consumer protection organization, a representative who is a Chambre member, firms in the financial products and services industry or the Autorité des marchés financiers. The Chambre’s syndic can also institute an investigation at his own discretion.

If there are adequate grounds, the syndic’s staff contact those involved in the file to gather information. All relevant documentation and statements are collected and the investigation occurs in complete confidentiality.

Subsequently, the results of the investigation are submitted to the syndic, who then decides whether or not to bring the matter before the Chambre’s Disciplinary Committee (known as filing a disciplinary complaint), depending on the seriousness of the infraction or the level of evidence available. Administrative measures may still be taken even though the representative is not charged with anything.

If the matter is brought before the disciplinary committee, the latter hears the parties’ evidence and rules on the representative’s culpability and imposes appropriate sanction, if needed.
What recourse do I have if I’m not satisfied with the syndic’s decision ?
A complainant who is dissatisfied with the syndic’s decision to not bring the case before the Disciplinary Committee may file a private complaint or apply to the review committee of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
What is the disciplinary process?
The disciplinary process is usually conducted as follows:
  1. Following an investigation, the syndic lodges a written complaint to the Disciplinary Committee.
  2. The Committee’s secretary serves the complaint on the representative.
  3. The representative appears in writing to declare whether or not he’s guilty.
  4. If the representative pleads guilty, the Committee usually holds one hearing to determine guilt and settle on a penalty.
  5. If the representative pleads not guilty, the Committee holds one hearing to decide the issue of guilt.
  6. The burden of proof to establish the representative’s guilt rests with the syndic.
  7. The Committee, at the end of the hearing and its deliberations, records its decision in writing and shows cause.
  8. If the representative is found guilty, a subsequent hearing is held to determine penalties.
  9. The representative may appeal the Disciplinary Committee’s decision before the Court of Quebec within 30 days after the decision is served.
Who can attend a hearing ?
Hearings are public and anyone can attend. The schedule of the roll of hearings is available here or under the heading “Ethics and Discipline / Disciplinary Committee”.
Can I receive the Sécurité financière magazine even though I’m not a member of the Chambre de la sécurité financière ?
Sécurité financière magazine is specifically written for Chambre members, who receive it free of charge.

Non-members can, however, subscribe at a cost of $45 a year (five (5) issues). Simply fill out the subscription form under the tab “Publications / Sécurité financière Magazine”.


What it is necessary to know

Before meeting with a financial sector professional, make sure you are well prepared:
  • Know yourself and your financial situation:
    • What is your risk tolerance?
    • Do you have any dependents?
    • Are you covered in the event of disability?
    • Are your dependents protected in the event that you die suddenly?
    • etc.
  • What are your priorities and goals?
    • At what age do you want to retire?
    • Do you have a retirement plan?
    • Are you planning any major purchases (home, car, etc.)? If so, when?
    • Do you want to help your children go to university?
    • etc.
  • It is important for a professional to have all available information in order to thoroughly understand your situation and provide you with the right advice. Have the documents pertaining to your financial situation on hand; for examples:
    • Work-related benefits: group insurance and pension plan
    • Disability, life, home, etc., insurance policies
    • Legal documents: will, proxy, power of attorney, etc.
    • Your assets: registered and unregistered investments
    • Your total debts and associated interest rates
    • Your most recent income tax returns

It is your advisor’s job to suggest the best strategies for your situation, priorities and goals. Before asking a professional to manage yours affairs, we suggest you read the guide Trust must be earned!

If you already have the name of the representative you will be meeting, check whether he or she is a member in good standing of the Chambre de la sécurité financière, and whether he or she has all the required certifications for the practice. To check this information, click here.

If you do not have a name, you can do these checks after the meeting.

During the meeting with the representative:
  • It is important for you to feel comfortable with your advisor. Do you feel like you are being listened to properly?
  • Did he or she take the time to look at your financial situation properly?
  • Did the representative properly explain the products or services being proposed? Each one’s advantages and drawbacks?
  • Check with the representative whether the products and services offered truly suit your needs.
  • Ask the representative to discuss his or her experience. How many years has he or she been in the business?
After meeting with the professional:
  • Check whether he’s a member in good standing of the Chambre de la sécurité financière and whether he has all the certificates needed to exercise his profession.
  • Write down the date and time of each meeting and phone call as well as a summary of what was discussed.
  • Keep all the correspondence from your representative (letters, faxes, emails).
If your needs pertain to securities (group savings or scholarship plan):
  • Make sure that that the professional has completed or updated your investor profile.
  • Make sure you know your tolerance for risk and tell your representative. If you do not know, your representative can help you determine it. Most representatives who are working for a firm or financial institution have questionnaires for identifying your level of risk tolerance.
  • If you have been dealing with the same representative for several years, it is best to have your investor profile updated every time you have a major life event (marriage, death, birth, career change, etc.).
  • Make sure that you are comfortable with the proposed products; that they are suited to your needs and your financial situation ?
  • Ask all of the questions you need to ask to understand the products being offered. Ask about the fees associated with the products as well. Request answers in writing, if necessary. It is your advisor’s responsibility to explain all the ins and outs of the product being offered. If your representative gives you a prospectus for a mutual fund, ask him or her to explain the useful information in the prospectus. This kind of document is often complex and, once again, it is your representative’s duty to explain the key elements to you. For further information, see the AMF brochure “Prospectuses made clear”.
  • Check the applicable fees, risks and features of the proposed products or investments. You are entitled to refuse some or all of the products offered if you do not believe they are suitable.
  • Make sure that all your information (name, address, phone numbers, age, etc.) is complete and accurate and that you’ve signed all necessary documents.
  • Never sign a blank form.
  • Write your cheques to the issuing company and not to the professional.
  • Make sure that you always receive a copy of the documents.
If your needs pertain to insurance of persons :
  • Make sure that the professional completed or updated your financial needs analysis (FNA) and that he gave you a copy.
  • If you’ve been dealing with the same professional for a number of years, it would be preferable that your FNA be regularly updated (at least once a year or when a significant event occurs in your life such as marriage, death, birth, career change. etc.).
  • Make sure that the professional has fully understood your insurance needs.
  • Ask all the questions you need to properly understand the insurance product he’s proposing. Ask for written answers if necessary.
  • If you are asking that your existing coverage be replaced, make sure that the new insurance policy really is more advantageous and better suited to your needs. The professional must comply with the replacement procedure, including completing a notice or prior notice of replacement.
  • Make sure that all your information (name, address, phone numbers, age, etc.) is complete and accurate and that you’ve signed all necessary documents.
  • Never sign a blank form.
  • If your premiums are paid by direct debit, write “VOID” on your cheque that will be attached to the application.
  • Make sure that you always receive a copy of the documents.