Fiduciaries vs. Brokers: Choosing the Right Investment Manager

Choosing an investment manager in Canada who is a fiduciary is a wise decision for several reasons, particularly when compared to brokers. Why? Brokers are not held to the same legal standard as an investment manager with a fiduciary duty. To understand this better, let’s delve into the distinctions between the two.

  1. Fiduciaries

Investment Managers as Fiduciaries 

When you choose an investment manager who is a fiduciary, you are entrusting your assets to a professional who is legally obligated to act in your best interests. Fiduciaries are held to a higher standard of care, which means they must prioritize your financial well-being above all else. They are legally bound to make recommendations and investment decisions that are most advantageous for you.


Brokers, on the other hand, typically operate under a “suitability standard.” This means they are obliged to recommend investments that are suitable for you, but not necessarily the absolute best option. This opens the door for potential conflicts of interest because brokers may receive commissions or other incentives for recommending certain products or services.

  1. Transparency and Disclosure

Investment Managers as Fiduciaries: 

Fiduciaries are required to provide full transparency regarding fees, conflicts of interest, and how they are compensated. They must make complete and honest disclosures, ensuring that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions.


Brokers are not held to the same level of transparency as fiduciaries. They may not be required to disclose all potential conflicts of interest, which can make it difficult for clients to fully understand the motivations behind their recommendations.

  1. Investment Process:

Investment Managers as Fiduciaries: 

Fiduciaries typically employ a more comprehensive and personalized investment approach. They take the time to understand your unique financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance, and then tailor investment strategies accordingly.


Brokers may have a more transactional approach, focusing on buying and selling investments on your behalf. Their recommendations may not always align with your long-term financial objectives.

Advising Representative vs. Dealing Representative: What’s the Difference?

In Canada, the distinction between advising representatives and dealing representatives is important. Advising representatives are expected to act in a more fiduciary-like manner, whereas dealing representatives may operate under a suitability standard that allows for more flexibility in the recommendations they provide.

Advising representatives are licensed to provide advice and recommendations on securities and investment products. They are expected to offer investment guidance that is in the best interests of their clients and aligns with their financial goals. Investment managers with a fiduciary duty would be considered an advising representative.

In contrast, dealing representatives are typically responsible for executing securities transactions on behalf of clients. They may be associated with trading and order execution, rather than providing comprehensive investment advice. Dealing representatives may work with brokerage firms that prioritize commissions and sales, potentially leading to conflicts of interest. For instance, a dealing representative is a broker or financial advisor that you would typically find in a major bank. 

In summary, choosing an investment manager in Canada who is a fiduciary provides you with a greater level of trust, transparency, and assurance that your financial interests are being prioritized. While brokers can play a valuable role in executing transactions, they may not always provide the same level of client-centric advice and protection as fiduciaries.

1000 667 Avenue Investment Management