Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc.

The mission of Desjardins Financial Services Firm (DFSF) is to protect members and clients who obtain investment funds or financial planning services from one of its representatives. It does so by ensuring compliance with industry practices by its mutual fund representatives (MFR) and financial planners and by investigating complaints made against them. As a result, when members contact their caisse to obtain mutual fund shares or financial planning services, they are directed to an advisor or a Desjardins Financial Services Firm financial planner.

Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. was created to meet the requirements of securities regulations. The regulations require that financial institutions, such as Desjardins caisses, offer mutual funds only through an investment firm.

In Quebec, Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. is registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers as a mutual fund brokerage and financial planning services firm. In Ontario, the Firm is registered with the Ontario Securities Commission as a mutual fund dealer.

Information about business relationships and conflicts of interest

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) implemented client-focused reforms that require brokers and advisors (MFR) to better align their interests with those of their clients. These reforms include a major change concerning the management of conflicts of interest and ensure clients understand their relationship with their broker and MFR.

Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. considers it vitally important that its clients have a good understanding of its products and services and receive recommendations that meet their needs. The following document, given to clients when they open a new account at DFSF, provides information on the key elements governing their relationship with their advisor (MFR).

Information about Business Relationships and Conflicts of Interest (PDF, 142 KB) - This link will open in a new window.

While it is important to read the entire document, the various sections are summarized below:

  • Range of DFSF services. Representatives exclusively offer Desjardins products, such as Desjardins Funds and capital shares.
  • Investment suitability. The advisor-client relationship is based on mutual responsibility between the client and the broker, i.e., each client is responsible for their investment decisions, and, as a mutual funds broker, DFSF has an obligation to ensure that the recommendations made by its representatives or the transactions clients request are suitable for them and in their best interest. Consequently, representatives must continuously update their client accounts, and clients must inform DFSF of any material changes to their situation.
  • The risks associated with the investments.
  • The various fees that may be charged and the impact they may have on investments.
  • The specifications of the products held (limits, liquidity risk, minimum balance).
  • Cash and cheque processing
  • A description of the various documents sent to clients (including investment statements and transaction confirmation notices).
  • Trusted contact person and temporary freeze. Designating a trusted contact person helps DFSF and the advisor (MFR) protect clients' financial interests and deal with certain situations such as health issues or life events that could impact their ability to make informed financial decisions. In these cases, arrangements could be made to secure the client's assets.
  • A section on various general provisions, such as amendments, termination, death and notices required by law or any agreement between the client and DFSF.
  • Complaint processing.
  • Information on conflicts of interest.

The last two elements are further elaborated in the sections below.

Complaint processing

Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. (DFSF) has an efficient procedure to process complaints from clients who are dissatisfied with a financial product or service provided by DFSF.

This document is currently given to any investor who opens an account with DFSF as well as any client living in Canada who files a complaint about a DFSF product.

The following document describes the entire process in detail as well as the options available to clients who wish to file a complaint.

Complaint processing at Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. (PDF, 86 KB) - This link will open in a new window.

Information on conflicts of interest

What is a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest exists when any of the following situations occurs:

  • The interests of different parties (such as those of a client and an MFR) are inconsistent or divergent
  • An MFR might be tempted to put their own interests ahead of those of their clients
  • An MFR's judgment is compromised

DFSF takes reasonable measures to identify any material conflicts of interest that exist or that it can reasonably expect to arise. A conflict of interest is considered "material" when it could reasonably be expected to have an impact on a client's decisions or on the MFR's recommendations or decisions. The "Information about Business Relationships and Conflicts of Interest" document presented above mentions elements of material conflicts of interest that must be disclosed to clients.

The CSA's reforms strengthen the obligation to disclose and address conflicts of interest. Accordingly, Desjardins Financial Services Firm (DFSF) must provide a written disclosure to clients regarding all material conflicts of interest that affect them. This disclosure must describe the nature and extent of the conflicts, their potential impacts and how they'll be addressed. DFSF must also address material conflicts in the client's best interest and avoid any conflict that can't be addressed in the client's best interest.

DFSF ensures that reasonable and equitable policies and measures are put in place to effectively control any type of conflict. It assesses the level of risk associated with each conflict and avoids any circumstances that involve a serious conflict of interest or that present a very high risk for its clients.