Most of it lies in the obligation that the advisor owes to the client:
The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada requires the advisors under its registration (a Registered Represenatative) to provide a "duty of care" to their clients.
Most of that falls under the "know your client" rule. In essence this means that an advisor, when they sell you a stock, bond, Mutual Fund or ETF (and they are selling it to you, so they are in fact salespeople) must be able to determine if the investment is suitable for you. That is the extent of it. Once you own it, the responsibility shifts to you, the buyer / owner of that investment.
If that investment should become unsuitable at anytime following the sale of it to you, ultimately the advisor can avoid responsibility for the sale of that investment by claiming that it was suitable when you bought it.
That is something that can be a pretty horrible experience for you if you get blindsided.
A portfolio manager, who has discretion over the portfolio of the investments that she/he purchases on your behalf, has a much deeper level of responsibility. They have a legal fiduciary duty to make sure that the investments you own continue to be suitable. That is a very big difference.
A portfolio strategy, therefore, must be based very specifically on your personal goals, timelines and ability or desire to take risk and how much risk is relevant for you.
More importantly, this requires regular monitoring and review of your circumstances and strategic adjustments should they be required.
Equally important, especially for us at High Rock, is that we have no conflicts of interest: we invest our money in the exact same assets as our clients and we are not commissioned salespeople. So we always put our clients interests first, ahead of our own.
A portfolio manager may not necessarily be licensed under IIROC. In fact, from my own personal experience, it is considerably more difficult to become a licensed portfolio manager under the Ontario (or other provincial) Securities Commission than it was under IIROC.
Click on this link:
The real question becomes (now that you are aware of the difference): Why would you want less, if you can have more? Especially if it doesn't cost more. In fact, I think that you will find with High Rock, we are comparatively cheaper than most advisors and other portfolio managers (relative to the level of service and competence that you get).
Something to think about.
Scott Tomenson,CIM Managing Partner, Chief Investment Strategist