Research demonstrates distinct differences between British Columbians and Vancouver’s Chinese-language residents

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October 6, 2008

Vancouver - An investor survey released today by the British Columbia Securities Commission focusing on Metro Vancouver’s Chinese-language residents found that some of their attitudes toward investing could put them at risk of falling victim to investment fraud.

“As part of our 2006 and 2007 research, we surveyed British Columbians’ investment skills and knowledge and their experiences with investment fraud and how it impacted their lives,” said Brenda Leong, BCSC executive director. “With this in mind, we surveyed Chinese-language residents, many of whom have difficulties speaking English, to understand their investing attitudes, experience and knowledge.”

The survey, Investment Attitudes: Focus on Chinese-language investors, found almost one-third (34 per cent) of respondents relied on investment information from friends and family, making them a potential target of affinity fraud - a scheme that relies on close relationships within tight-knit groups to take people’s money. This is troublesome, considering 42 per cent of respondents are not saving or investing for the future due to the fact many of them are low-income earners.

The survey also found the precursors for falling victim to fraud was particularly high - 41 per cent of survey respondents strongly agree, “no matter how much homework you do, every investment is a gamble”, and 47 per cent strongly agree, “sometimes you have to bend the rules if you want to get ahead in life”.

Additionally, a majority of respondents do not have a financial plan (69 per cent), nor do they have a financial adviser (73 per cent), demonstrating that there is a need for more investor education targeted at this group.

Nevertheless, despite learning that Chinese-language investors may have a high vulnerability to fraud, their reported experience with it is low.

“This survey is the beginning of a partnership that includes providing a Chinese-language InvestRight landing page, (link no longer operational), hosted on our website,” said Tung Chan, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. “We are looking forward to working with the BCSC to provide more investor education information to people in the future.”

Innovative Research Group, in a joint venture with S.U.C.C.E.S.S., surveyed 508 Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking residents of Metro Vancouver between Sept. 2 and Sept. 14, 2008.  Ninety-eight per cent of those surveyed were born outside of Canada.  Comparisons were made between the survey of Chinese-language Metro Vancouver residents and research conducted by the BCSC of British Columbians in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

In this survey, “Chinese” refers to Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking respondents, and does not include English-only members of the Chinese community. This is the third consecutive year that the BCSC has marked the beginning of Investor Education Month by releasing investor research through a partnership.

The BCSC created the InvestRight education program to help protect investors from investment fraud and to give them the tools they need to ask the right questions before making investment decisions. Its comprehensive website at InvestRight.org provides a wide range of tools to help investors develop critical thinking skills they need to protect themselves. If you have questions or problems with an investment or a financial adviser, please call 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll-free in BC & Alberta).

The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. For more information, please visit www.bcsc.bc.ca.

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has been “Innovatively Integrating New Canadians for 35 Years”. It is now one of the largest social service providers in British Columbia with over 20 locations and two overseas offices. For more details, please visit: www.successbc.ca.

Media Contacts

Ken Gracey, BCSC
Ph: 604-899-6577
E-mail: kgracey@bcsc.bc.ca

Eileen Lao, S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
Ph: 604-408-7243
Cell: 778-997-8283
E-mail: eileen.lao@success.bc.ca


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