Protecting your Assets
At Assante Wealth Management, ensuring the security of assets entrusted to us by clients is a key priority. It goes hand in hand with our mission – to help create wealth and prosperity for Canadian families.
In partnership with our professional advisors, who are among the most highly respected and accredited in the country, we are pleased to outline here four key safeguards that are in place to guard your assets: our strong corporate backing, the security safekeeping measures we follow, our adherence to strict industry standards and industry-wide investor protection.
President, Assante Wealth Management
Strong corporate backing
The first level of client protection is provided by our comprehensive governance processes and the substantial financial resources of Assante Wealth Management’s parent company, CI Financial Corp. Assante legal and compliance personnel keep senior management, as well as CI Financial’s board of directors, aware of legal, regulatory and compliance matters on a continuous basis. In addition, CI Financial’s Internal Audit Department plays an integral role by reviewing and testing the processes and internal controls of Assante to ensure they are meeting regulatory requirements. CI Financial, Canada’s third largest investment fund company, is financially strong, reporting net income of $445 million for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008. It had approximately $90 billion in fee-earning assets as of July 31, 2009. CI Financial is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “CIX” and is a component of the S&P/TSX Composite Index. CI Financial’s status as a publicly traded company provides additional transparency and accountability through continuous financial disclosure obligations. CI Financial is 35% owned by Scotiabank, one of North America’s premier financial institutions and Canada’s most international bank, with operations in 50 countries.
Security safekeeping measures
Assante is required by regulators to maintain adequate capital to cover our business risks, keep comprehensive and accurate records and employ appropriate securities handling procedures. Most securities owned by our clients are held through central industry-wide electronic or book-based systems. In this approach, investments are tracked using independent service providers, including FundSERV in the case of mutual funds, and the Canadian Depository for Securities for most equity securities. In situations where fully paid up securities are physically held by us, they are kept separate from any securities related to our corporate investing activities and are subject to regulatory audit on an annual basis. This safeguard helps to ensure that clients’ investments are not subject to any risks related to their dealer’s business activities and are adequately segregated for the benefit of clients. Custodial services for all securities held in client accounts, other than mutual funds, are provided through the National Bank Correspondent Network, which is owned by the National Bank of Canada. The provision of security recordkeeping and custody by independent service providers results in multiple parties being involved in transactions in client accounts. The benefit to clients is additional oversight of the firm’s procedures to ensure all assets are accounted for accurately.
Strict industry standards
Assante’s dealer subsidiaries, Assante Capital Management Ltd., a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), and Assante Financial Management Ltd., a member of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA), are subject to the oversight of the provincial securities commissions. Both Assante Capital Management and Assante Financial Management are required to adhere to regulations governing investor protection, fiduciary responsibilities and stringent recordkeeping. These requirements are monitored by IIROC and the MFDA, respectively, through independent audits conducted regularly by external auditors and by examiners or the regulators. IIROC and MFDA examiners conduct sale compliance audits of their registered dealers that include marketing materials, trades, disclosures on client statements, and branch operations, as well as financial compliance audits that include a detailed review of the firm’s financial and custodial procedures and adherence with regulatory policies. In addition, every financial advisor at Assante is subject to regulatory oversight. For every fiduciary relationship you have, we would encourage you to check with the applicable regulator to ensure the firm is registered and in good standing.
Although Assante clients’ assets are segregated from the dealer’s assets, additional security is provided to our clients through industry investor protection plans that will reimburse investors, within predefined limits, if their dealer becomes insolvent or bankrupt and their assets are missing as a result. The Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF) reimburses clients of securities dealers up to a maximum loss of $1 million by account type (i.e. separate coverage for open accounts and registered accounts). The MFDA Investor Protection Corporation provides similar protection for clients of mutual fund dealers.
For more information
To find out more about how your assets are protected, we encourage you to visit these online sources: