Problems with adviser

Q – I am working overseas, and hold my portfolio with an independent advisor in Canada. During the last 6 weeks I have made several changes to my portfolio which included switches within fund companies, for the purpose of balance and capital preservation. I have copies of all the email directives I made, together with my advisor’s email confirmations.

Assuming all was in order, I requested a current portfolio summary. What I received was full of errors and omissions. It does not reflect the changes I directed. I have e-mailed him with a detailed list of the errors and demanded a full and detailed explanation. I also demanded immediate correction and restoration of my portfolio to its intended composition and full reimbursement for any costs incurred.

I have received no response. At this point I do not know what is going on with my portfolio, if it is up to date, and what its actual composition is.

What recourse do I have? Can I report him to the provincial securities commission? Can I take legal action?

What are your suggestions? I am losing sleep over this matter. – K.L.

A Sorry to hear about these problems. When you say “independent advisor”, I assume this means someone who operates completely on his own, and not part of a network, such as Dundee Securities or Assante. If the advisor has affiliations with an organization, your first step would be to contact a supervisor within that company and ask that the matter be looked into on a priority basis. A telephone call would be the best way to get fast action.

If the advisor is totally independent (no supervisor, no partners) then it becomes more difficult. The first step is to make a phone call to the office. If you are told the advisor can’t speak to you, find out when he will be available and make an appointment for a telephone conference. If none of that works, file a formal complaint with the Investment Dealers Association (IDA) which is based in Toronto. Legal action is possible but should be a last resort because of the time and expense involved. – G.P.