Montréal – The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) today unveiled a major fraud awareness campaign intended for Québec investors. The campaign will be rolled out via numerous electronic and print media under the theme “Investigate before you invest!” For this occasion, the AMF is proud to be associated with well-known Québec television host Guy Mongrain, himself a victim of fraud in the 1990s.

“By giving a human face to our campaign, we want to stress that behind every fraud scheme, there are victims, people who suffer and who need our sympathy,” stated AMF President and CEO Jean St-Gelais. The campaign will be officially launched on November 9, 2009 and will continue throughout the month. It will also run as part of the upcoming RRSP season in January and February and as part of Fraud Prevention Month in March.

Mr. Mongrain decided to team up with the AMF so as to help raise awareness about the importance of being extra careful as an investor. “A few years ago, I was a victim of fraud, and lost a large amount of money. I was more fortunate than other victims, because I was able to overcome the ordeal. Before handing your money over to someone, make sure the person is registered with the AMF,” said Mr. Mongrain, who has also agreed to speak about his experience at conferences given by AMF staff.

Recent scandals have unfortunately helped fuel investor mistrust regarding financial products and industry professionals. However, it is important to remember that the majority of financial industry professionals in Québec are honest and trustworthy people who care about their clients. “By running this campaign, we hope investors will develop new reflexes so that they can make sound investment decisions and better protect themselves against fraud,” added Mr. St-Gelais. In fact, a recent study by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CS) revealed that 83% of Quebeckers agree that they are responsible for acquiring basic financial skills for investment purposes. However, the behaviour of more than half of respondents reveals otherwise.

This awareness campaign is further to the announcement by Québec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand on September 13 that the Québec government was introducing a series of measures to combat financial fraud, embezzlement and corruption. Together with the Québec government, the AMF has helped train a joint team to combat economic crimes. It has also set up a unit for monitoring the Internet, and it has improved access to its electronic register of authorized representatives and firms.

Enhanced awareness
In addition to ensuring financial market oversight, consumer assistance is a key component of the AMF’s mission. A team of trained information officers is available to answer questions from the public at the AMF Information Centre at 1-877-525-0337 or via the AMF website.

The AMF will also focus its efforts on educational tools written in plain language and distributed through its wide network of partners. It will continue to hold conferences and to inform the public about its services, activities and initiatives. Examples of completed and upcoming initiatives include:

  • Continue to promote AMF public conferences, in particular those intended for senior citizens, workers and young people;
  • Campaign aimed at teachers to promote AMF learning tools and the AMF youth website (;
  • Launch of a guide entitled “Make it Count” and intended for parents and adolescents;
  • Information intended for unions and employees highlighting the risk of fraud, particularly in connection with massive layoffs.

Upcoming initiatives:

  • Closer co-operation with Québec's office of senior citizens (Secrétariat aux aînés) to optimize AMF's efforts at raising awareness about fraud;
  • Partnership with Les Éditions Protegez-vous to develop a practical guide for investors (available in January 2010);
  • Enhancements to the Consumer section on the AMF website.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.

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Sylvain Théberge: (514) 940-2176

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