Majority of Canadians want financial advice to come from a human

By: Lisa Coxon on December 17, 2019

Canadian investors want personalized advice from a human, but only 40% consider online advice to be personalized, according to a national survey from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

IIROC, a self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers and their trading activity, surveyed more than 2,000 Canadians who are currently investing and those who are interested in investing one day but aren’t doing so right now.

The data show that a human element is important to both groups, with 74% of current investors saying they need financial advice to come from a human, and 62% of aspiring investors saying the same.

That’s a notable amount of in-person-inclined investors, which could pose a challenge for online robo-investment companies like Wealthsimple and Nest Wealth. In fact, current investors (31%) and aspiring investors (44%) feel that online investing services have fewer regulatory protections, and 68% and 60%, respectively, are concerned about their privacy and security.

That said, the majority of Canadian investors are still comfortable completing financial business online, but few have actually tested out automated investment services (17% of current investors, and 9% of aspiring investors).

The survey revealed that the percentage of Canadian investors who feel it’s important to get advice from a human increases with age, too: 82% of seniors said they value human-delivered advice.

Beyond those findings, though, Canadian investors said they’re looking for a one-stop-shop when it comes to financial products and services.

According to survey results, 86% of current investors said it’s important for them to be able to access a range of financial products and services without having to go to several different providers or open new accounts. As for aspiring investors, 68% expressed the same sentiment.

Flexibility and personalization were also key for both demographics, with 90% of current investors saying it’s important to receive advice that’s flexible to meet their changing needs and circumstances, and 69% of aspiring investors saying the same.

“This research enables IIROC, as a regulator, to support the industry transformation taking place and will give Canadians better access to the personalized, flexible advice and services they want,” said Irene Winel, IIROC's Senior Vice-President, Member Regulation and Strategy, in a release.