Conducting Background Research

You can use the information in this toolkit to complete a variety of tasks, including hiring new employees in the securities industry, vetting firm management, and conducting “know your client” compliance activities. 

This toolkit presents publicly available sources that may help you screen the people and companies your firm is considering doing business with for negative information. In the securities industry, background research looks for evidence of behaviour involving:

  • Fraud
  • Market manipulation
  • Securities violations
  • Offences involving theft, breach of trust, or greed
  • Disregard for government or industry regulation
  • Poor financial management
  • Conflict of interest
  • Negligence
  • Dishonesty

There is no set template for a good background search. Your knowledge of the research task and the background of your subject puts you in the best position to decide when and how to do research. You will need to use your judgment for each research decision, including the choice of sources to search and research strategies to employ.

This background research toolkit is an educational tool that outlines common searches performed by Canadian researchers. The source coverage is restricted to Canada and the United States. In most cases we have listed the sources that have the broadest geographical coverage but there are often subsets of these databases that limit their coverage to a particular jurisdiction. There are other research sources that have not been included in this guide.

Investors and members of the general public may find the investor education sources such as InvestRight New window more practical, as all the sources listed are free and steps are easy to follow.

Background Research Sources