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How to Choose a Financial Advisor


female financial advisor with male client

How to choose a financial advisor that’s right for you

Choosing a financial professional is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. Expert advice guides us from where we are to where we want to be. A good advisor can help you build a strong financial pyramid, plan for your family’s future, maximize tax savings and ensure your portfolio is well-diversified for the best returns. 

Why work with a financial professional?

Based on research, analysis and many scientific tests, there is quantifiable evidence that clients greatly benefit from working with a professional advisor. People who work with financial experts have greater confidence in their financial futures. 

Working with a financial professional is personal. It is an important relationship that begins with a meaningful conversation. They consider your goals, wants, needs, family, passions and vision for the life you want to live. A professional can help you create a rewarding roadmap for your financial future.

Which type of advisor is ideal for you?

During strong markets and turbulent times, an advisor will help you understand the markets, time for short- and long-term goals and, perhaps most importantly, help keep your emotions in check. When a professional knows your entire personal and financial situation, they can help you stay on track and reach your goals.

So, how do you choose which financial professional to work with?  

  • Financial Advisors: Manage your cash flow efficiently, create comprehensive debt repayment structures, implement investment strategies for retirement and ultimately work to grow your savings. Both financial planners and senior financial advisors have a special focus in investments, taxes, retirement and estate planning. The main goal of a financial advisor is to manage and budget your finances, now and for the future.
  • Wealth Advisors: Specialize in comprehensive financial advice. They work to grow and protect your wealth. They provide solutions for cash management, credit planning and investments.
  • Senior Wealth Advisors: Specialize in advising and implementing sophisticated wealth strategies and investment portfolios.

    In Canada, these financial professionals can be referred to as investment advisors, financial consultants and more. Wealth advisors or by any name they act under, invest capital to secure a client’s financial future. Financial Advisors should belong to a regulatory agency:
    • The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), regulates all investment dealers in Canada. IIROC monitors financial institutions and enforces rules and regulations around operations, financial practices, business conduct and proficiency of its members.
    • The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) is the national self-regulatory organization (SRO) for the distribution and sales of the mutual fund industry. It is responsible, like IIROC, for regulating the business practices, standards of practice and business conduct of its members. These advisors differ from IIROC advisors because they can only use mutual funds and GICs for their clients.
  • Wealth Planning Specialists: Experts in financial planning and focus on ensuring that your plans are on track. They have extensive experience with investments, retirement, estate planning and businesses transition planning. They provide solutions for complex needs to ensure you are financially secure now and in the future.
  • Life Insurance Advisors: Often life insurance advisors are also wealth planning specialists, or they work closely together. These professionals are experts in comprehensive estate planning, tax minimization and strategies that protect your wealth. They are focused on making sure that your plans are on track, no matter what life changes you may go through. 
  • Commercial Banking & Business Banking Advisors: Expert partner for your business needs. They will help you find capital solutions, secure financing (including construction and term), consult on risk management and mitigation.  These experts are dedicated to finding the solutions that will help your business continue to grow. 

An important note on fees: Financial professionals are either fee-based, meaning they collect a pre-stated fee for services, or commission-based, meaning they earn a percentage of income earned form the management of the account.  

Overall, the kind of advisor you need depends on your financial situation. Different financial professionals will have different specialities, from insurance to estate planning and much more.

Considerations when looking for a financial professional

Credentials: The initials in front of titles reflect the education and certifications that different types of advisors have. The different expertise is important to understand as credentials can inform you of education and experience and how they might align with your life goals. 

Fit: Ensure that the advisors you are considering working with share the same morals and ethics that you do. Each advisor will have a different style and approach to investing. An advisor is going to know the intimate details of your life and financial situation; be sure they tell you details of their practice and philosophies. 

Trustworthiness: Your financial situation affects every part of your life, and you need to have trust in the person handling your investments.

Get expert advice you can trust

Working with a trusted professional will help build a successful financial future for you and your family. Get started, or get a second opinion, by talking to a member of our Wealth team.

Contact our Member Advice Centre or email us to connect with a financial professional that's right for you.


Mutual funds, other securities and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Advisor, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Mutual funds and related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Asset Management (a tradename of Credential Asset Management Inc). Financial planning services are available only from advisors who hold financial planning accreditation from applicable regulatory authorities.