Help Protect Your Financial Well-Being

By: Susan Gottlieb

It’s something new that you should know about as an investor. Your Trusted Contact Person is someone you choose who can help to protect your financial well-being.

What is the role of a Trusted Contact Person?

A Trusted Contact Person is someone you give your financial consultant written consent to contact. They may contact them if they suspect you are being financially exploited, if there’s concern about your ability to make decisions due to physical or mental incapacity, or if your financial advisor is unable to reach you.

Your Trusted Contact Person may be asked to provide or confirm information, such as:

  • Whether anyone may be financially exploiting or abusing you.
  • Your state of mind, if there are reasonable concerns about your ability to make financial decisions.
  • Your Power of Attorney’s contact information.
  • Your current contact information. For example, you may be travelling and have an alternate phone number we don’t have. Or you may have simply changed your contact information, and haven’t updated us yet.

Your Trusted Contact Person’s role is to provide or confirm information only – they do not have any authority over your account, cannot make decisions on your behalf, and will not be given access to your detailed account information. Your Trusted Contact Person will not be asked for information unless there is a belief it’s absolutely necessary to help you.


Why should you appoint one?

Fact: Older Canadians may experience age-related health issues such as dementia that can affect their ability to make sound financial decisions. They may also be the targets of elder abuse – with one study indicating that 7.5% of Canadians aged 55+ have experienced it.


Fact: Younger Canadians can also experience health issues that affect their decision making. And they too can be the victims of financial fraud, including cyber crimes which are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Protecting investors of all ages is why the Canadian investment industry’s regulator, the Canadian Securities Administrators, has introduced an important new role – the Trusted Contact Person. Even if you have already appointed a Power of Attorney, it makes sense to consider appointing a Trusted Contact Person. By appointing a Trusted Contact Person for your account, you can add another layer of protection against financial abuse and diminished decision-making ability due to illness or injury. 


How is it different from a Power of Attorney? 

Your Power of Attorney (or Mandate in Quebec) is a legal document, in which you authorize someone to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable or choose not to do so yourself.  Unlike a Power of Attorney (or Mandatory in Quebec), a Trusted Contact Person does not have any legal authority – or liability – when it comes to your account. They can’t make financial or health-care decisions on your behalf. They’re not liable for the information they provide to us, or subsequent actions we may take. 


How is it different from a Trading Authority? 

A Trading Authority is someone you authorize to make investment decisions on your behalf within your account. Unlike a Trading Authority, your Trusted Contact Person cannot make or approve any transactions within your account. 


Who should you appoint as your Trusted Contact Person? 

You can appoint anyone you want as your Trusted Contact Person. However, it is recommended that you select someone who is not already involved in making decisions with respect to your account (such as your Power of Attorney or Trading Authority). Ideally, your Trusted Contact Person is someone separate who provides you with an additional layer of protection against potential financial exploitation. 

It is also recommended that you choose someone who, regardless of their age, is mature, knowledgeable about your personal situation, and familiar with your support network. They need to be capable of speaking to you, and your advisor, about potentially difficult subjects, like concerns about diminishing mental capacity. 


How do I appoint one? 

You’ll likely be invited to appoint a Trusted Contact Person when you open a new account or when we’re updating the “Know Your Client” information your financial advisor has on file for you. You should let them know that you’re appointing them as your Trusted Contact Person, and advise your financial advisor if they decline the role for any reason. 


Can I change my Trusted Contact Person? 

Yes, you can change your Trusted Contact Person any time you wish by completing new documentation. If you subsequently name your Trusted Contact Person as a Power of Attorney or Trading Authority, we recommend that you appoint a new Trusted Contact Person.


Susan Gottlieb is Senior Wealth Advisor & Associate Portfolio Manager with RBC Dominion Securities Inc..

RBC Dominion Securities Inc.* and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. RBC Dominion Securities Inc. is a member company of RBC Wealth Management, a business segment of Royal Bank of Canada. ® / TM Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. © 2021 RBC Dominion Securities Inc. All rights reserved. 21_90081_1396  (11/2021)