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Anxiety a major barrier to engaging on investment fees

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Vancouver - Over a third of British Columbians are anxious about their investments, according to a new poll commissioned by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC).

Last week, the BCSC polled over 500 B.C. investors about investment anxiety and found that 36 per cent say they feel "overwhelmed" when trying to make investment decisions. The poll also found that anxiety has consequences, with nearly two-in-five anxious investors (39 per cent) reporting that they avoid reading their investment statements because doing so causes them anxiety.

"The BCSC has been looking into the barriers that keep people from doing what they should be doing when it comes to their investments," said Pamela McDonald, Director, Communications and Education at the BCSC. "We spoke to British Columbians in focus groups last year and learned anxiety is one of the main barriers they face when making investment decisions. We conducted this survey to quantify the problem and understand what would help investors overcome their anxiety."

The online poll found that investors felt their anxiety could be reduced through education. One out of every five investors (21 per cent) surveyed said that a better understanding of basic investment principles would help lift their anxiety. Investors also identified that a better understanding of investment jargon (16 per cent) and a better understanding of the products they hold (22 per cent) would alleviate anxiety.

"We're launching the next phase of our public awareness campaign this week to educate investors on the importance of investment fees, because fees are one of the investment principles that investors still don't understand," said McDonald. "We know from previous research that many B.C. investors still don't know they pay fees, let alone how much they pay. We don't want anxiety to prevent investors from having important conversations with their investment advisors about fees and how they impact investments."

Last year, investors started receiving annual investment fee reports from their advisors as part of new securities regulations. The BCSC offers free investor education tools to help investors understand their fees, including an online investment fee calculator.

The Investment Anxiety in B.C. survey was part of an omnibus survey conducted by Innovative Research Group Inc. between January 11 and 16, 2018. For more information on investment fees, visit the Take a Look at Your Investment Fees page on

About the British Columbia Securities Commission (

The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering: 

  • A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
  • A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital


Media Contact:
Alison Walker

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