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A common trick for misleading customers, according to Elford, is the banking industry's use of the term "financial advisor" — spelled with an "o."
He says "advisor" is an unregulated title that anyone can use, whereas the title "adviser" — spelled with an "e" — can only be used if the employee has a fiduciary responsibility to the client.
"Advisors can sell you the third, fourth, fifth or least beneficial product to you," Elford said. "They do that a great deal of the time if it makes them more commissions, or if their bank manager is telling them they need to sell more of the house-brand product."
The Ontario Securities Commission confirms that "adviser" is a legal term under securities law that describes a person or company that is registered to give advice about securities, whereas "advisor" is not.
In an email to Go Public, the Canadian Securities Administratorsconfirmed that it does not regulate most titles used by employees in the financial industry.