Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) Brokers 2024

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Written By
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Written By
Tobias Robinson
Tobias is a partner at DayTrading.com, director of a UK limited company and active trader. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry and contributed via CySec to the regulatory response to digital options and CFD trading in Europe. Toby’s expertise and dedication to financial education make him a trusted voice in the industry, including a BBC investigation into digital options.
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Fact Checked By
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William Berg
William contributes to several investment websites, leveraging his experience as a consultant for IPOs in the Nordic market and background providing localization for forex trading software. William has worked as a writer and fact-checker for a long row of financial publications.
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The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) plays a key role in upholding the integrity of financial markets, including overseeing brokers and trading platforms. This guide covers how the CIRO works, from its structure and history to its responsibilities and powers. We also rank the top CIRO brokers.

Best CIRO Brokers

Brokers authorized by the CIRO have to follow rules designed to protect Canadian traders, facilitating a secure trading environment. These are the leading brokers regulated by the CIRO:

Click a broker for details
  1. 1
    Interactive Brokers

    Ratings
    4.5 / 5
    3.5 / 5
    4.5 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    3.3 / 5
    3 / 5
    4.4 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.3 / 5
    4.5 / 5

    $0
    $100
    1:50
    FCA, SEC, FINRA, CFTC, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB, FINMA
    Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies
    Trader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
    Cheque, ACH Transfer, Wire Transfer, Automated Customer Account Transfer Service, TransferWise, Debit Card
    USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, INR, JPY, SEK, NOK, DKK, CHF, AED, HUF

Here is a summary of why we recommend these brokers:

  1. Interactive Brokers - Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a premier brokerage, providing access to 150 markets in 33 countries, along with a suite of comprehensive investment services. With over 40 years of experience, this Nasdaq-listed firm adheres to stringent regulations by the SEC, FCA, CIRO, and SFC, amongst others, and is one of the most trusted brokers for trading around the globe.

Interactive Brokers

"Interactive Brokers is one of the best brokers for advanced day traders, providing powerful charting platforms, real-time data, and customizable layouts, notably through the new IBKR Desktop application. Its superb pricing and advanced order options also make it highly attractive for day traders, while its diverse range of equities is still among the best in the industry."

Christian Harris, Reviewer

Interactive Brokers Quick Facts

Demo AccountYes
InstrumentsStocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Funds, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies
RegulatorFCA, SEC, FINRA, CFTC, CBI, CIRO, SFC, MAS, MNB, FINMA
PlatformsTrader Workstation (TWS), IBKR Desktop, GlobalTrader, Mobile, Client Portal, AlgoTrader, OmniTrader, eSignal, TradingCentral
Minimum Deposit$0
Minimum Trade$100
Leverage1:50
Account CurrenciesUSD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, INR, JPY, SEK, NOK, DKK, CHF, AED, HUF

Pros

  • While primarily geared towards experienced traders, IBKR has made moves to broaden its appeal in recent years, reducing its minimum deposit from $10,000 to $0.
  • IBKR is one of the most respected and trusted brokerages and is regulated by top-tier authorities, so you can have confidence in the integrity and security of your trading account.
  • With low commissions, tight spreads and a transparent fee structure, IBKR delivers a cost-effective environment for short-term traders.

Cons

  • TWS’s learning curve is steep, and beginners may find it challenging to navigate the platform and understand all the features. Plus500's web platform is much better suited to new traders.
  • Support can be slow and frustrating based on tests, so you might find it challenging to reach customer service representatives promptly or encounter delays in resolving issues.
  • You can only have one active session per account, so you can’t have your desktop program and mobile app running simultaneously, making for a sometimes frustrating trading experience.

What Is The CIRO?

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization, or CIRO, is a self-regulatory body of investment brokers, mutual fund dealers, and other firms operating in the country’s equity marketplace.

It was formed through the merger of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) in 2023.

The CIRO sets and maintains industry standards that safeguard Canadian investors, amongst other objectives, including monitoring the activities of online brokers. It has the power to investigate businesses to ensure compliance and discipline any firms in breach of the rules.

The CIRO is the Canadian equivalent of regulatory bodies such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the USA and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

There are around 262 firms and 108,000 representatives that are members of the CIRO.

CIRO logo

History

The CIRO was formed through the combination of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) in January of 2023.

Initially, it was named the New Self-Regulatory Organization of Canada but in June of 2023, its name was changed to the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization.

Structure

The CIRO is a non-profit and self-governing regulatory body funded through membership fees whereby firms are charged both an entrance fee to become members alongside an annual fee. The annual fee varies according to several factors such as the total revenue of the broker and the number of approved persons.

The organization is run by a president and CEO, along with a board made up of both independent and industry directors. For example, the president and CEO of TMX Group and the chairman of Peak Financial Group.

Andrew J. Kriegler was appointed as CEO of the IIROC in 2014 and kept his position after the amalgamation with the MFDA.

Responsibilities & Powers

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization oversees the way that businesses operate, including trading brokers, and implements standards that firms must abide by. In other words, it carries on the duties of both the IIROC and MFDA.

The main responsibilities and powers of the CIRO include:

Note that these rules are an updated version of the Universal Market Integrity Rules implemented by the IIROC. Also, at the time of writing, these are classified as interim rules and are subject to change in the future.

The interim rules are in place to help brokers transition from the IIROC and the MFDA to the CIRO’s single rulebook.

Protective Measures

To help protect retail traders, the CIRO mandates certain measures.

One measure is that CIRO-regulated brokers can only use counterparties that are deemed to be acceptable according to certain criteria. This includes Canadian banks that have between $10 million and $100 million in paid-up capital and surplus. Another acceptable counterparty is a corporation with a net worth in excess of $75 million.

These strict rules mean that brokers cannot use fraudulent counterparties or liquidity providers with insufficient capital and, as a result, can keep order quality high.

Additionally, regulated entities such as licensed brokers must be members of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (IPF). This ensures that client and business funds are kept separate so that traders can reclaim their money if the broker were to default.

In the case where clients’ funds cannot be recovered due to insolvency, they can claim compensation of up to $1 million.

Criticisms

One key criticism regarding the CIRO surrounds conflicts of interest. As the organization is funded by its members and has many directors from licensed companies and entities, there is arguably cause for concern.

For instance, how independent can the CIRO really be, and how robust will it be in terms of disciplining non-compliant firms?

This concern is backed up by common criticisms of the IIROC and MDFA that relate to inconsistent enforcement actions. For example, there have been times when the regulators have issued penalties that arguably did not correspond with the magnitude of the infraction or misconduct. This is in addition to instances where fines have been overturned completely.

So while CIRO brokers are normally a safer bet than brokers that aren’t registered with the CIRO, the financial body is not held in the same regard as top-tier agencies like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

How To Check If A Broker Is Regulated By The CIRO

CIRO-regulated brokers usually publish this information on their websites. This can often be found in the footer of the homepage along with information on the registered name, address and license number.

You may also be able to find this on any page on the site dedicated to legal information and regulatory authorizations.

Another option is to check the regulator’s directory. At the time of writing, the CIRO has not set up a publicly-accessible registry containing all the members. Therefore, you may need to confirm membership by looking at registries on the IIROC and MFDA websites. On both sites, you can search for brokers to verify their license details and to see how long they have been members.

You can also check to see if the broker is a member of the IPF by looking at the members directory on the Canadian Investor Protection Fund website. This will show whether you will be able to claim compensation if you register with a broker that later becomes insolvent.

Note that CIRO members have until the 31st of December in 2024 to update their systems so you may need to check the IIROC or MFDA website prior to this date.

Final Word

The CIRO has the important tasks of overseeing Canadian-based brokers and implementing rules that protect the financial markets and retail investors. To do so, it provides Canadian traders with various protections, including access to the Investor Protection Fund.

While there have been criticisms of both the IIROC and MDFA, they have generally been reliable regulators. The amalgamation of the two bodies should also mean that they are stronger moving forward.

FAQs

Can I Trust CIRO-Regulated Brokers?

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization is a reputable regulatory body and its authorized brokers are generally legitimate and trustworthy.

The CIRO ensures that trading platforms abide by strict operational rules, with the aim of maintaining market transparency and integrity while protecting retail investors.

How Does The CIRO Keep Retail Traders Safe?

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization issues rules that members must abide by, including using credible counterparties, separating client assets from company capital, and ensuring access to compensation schemes in the event that a brokerage becomes insolvent.

The CIRO also has the power to investigate and punish non-compliant brokers using fines, suspensions or outright bans.

How Can I Make Sure A Broker Is Licensed By The CIRO?

If a broker is authorized by the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization, generally, there is information on the website confirming this.

For example, you can check the ‘About Us’ section or scroll down to the footer on the homepage. Alternatively, you can check the regulator’s directory which includes a list of all current members.

How Can I Report Misconduct To The CIRO?

If you have a complaint about a regulated broker, you can contact either the IIROC-based branch or the MFDA-based branch. To do this, you can either fill out a secure form on the respective agencies’ websites or you can call the teams at 1-877-442-4322 for the IIROC or 1-888-466-6332 for the MFDA.

How Was The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization Created?

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization is a self-regulatory body formed from the amalgamation of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA) in 2023.

The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada was the main financial regulator in the country that oversaw the operation of trading brokers. The Mutual Fund Dealers Association specialized in regulating certain investment vehicles, such as mutual funds.

Article Sources

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