How to use the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s Register of Representatives to verify if the person you meet in-person or online is a registered/licensed financial advisor/consultant?
With the recent news on phishing and impersonation scams, we should stay vigilant especially when it comes to meeting someone for the first time.
Supposed you are in a meeting with someone, in-person or online, for the first time. And that someone claimed that he/she is a financial advisor.
Before you give more personal information for professional purposes, how do you verify that he/she is indeed who he/she claimed to be? Here is how:
1) Ask him/her to show you his/her staff pass
Ideally the staff pass should contain the person’s name and representative number. The representative number is a unique identifier for financial advisors/consultants, and it does not change whenever a financial advisor moves from one advisory company to another (more on this in “Bonus” section below). If the representative number is not stated on the staff pass, ask him/her to give you his/her name-card.
For the representative number, check that it is in the following format:
2) Go to Register of Representatives website
3) From Register of Representatives website, enter the representative number and click “Search”
After clicking on “Search”, you will get the following possible results:
3.1) Website displays “No record found” in search results
What this means is, there is no such financial advisor/consultant of that representative number. This is the case you need to be cautious of. Do NOT engage this person for financial advisory services.
3.2) Website displays one record with no “Current Principal Company”
What this means is, the person was a registered financial advisor/consultant in the past, and he/she has since left the financial advisory career. Hence, this person is no longer able to provide financial advisory services.
3.3) Website displays one record with valid “Current Principal Company”
What this means is, the person is a registered financial advisor/consultant representing a company based on “Current Principal Company”. Assuming the name and representative number matches what you have seen in 1), you may engage this person for financial advisory services.
For 3.2) and 3.3), you can click on the entry to view the person’s current and past regulated activities (if any). Here is one example:
If the value of “Status” column is “Appointed” and the value of “To” column is “Present”, it means the person is a registered financial advisor/consultant at present. In addition, he/she is appointed to provide financial advisory service(s) pursuant to section 23C of the Financial Advisers Act (Cap 110) (“FAA”).
One of the co-founders had a scare in the past, when:
- During a meeting, he received a name-card from the sender who claimed he/she is a financial advisor,
- From the name-card, noticed that the representative number has only 11 characters and not 12 , and
- A search on the Register of Representatives website displays “No record found” in search results.
Upon clarification, it turns out that the representative number on the name-card has a missing “-” third from left. With the “-“, the Register of Representatives website displays one record with valid “Current Principal Company”. Hence, he/she is indeed a registered financial advisor. The co-founder has since given feedback to get the financial advisor’s name-card changed to fix the typo in representative number.
We hope you find this blog useful. This blog is based on one of the co-founders’ personal experience meeting financial advisors. For feedback, you may contact us via our social channels.
Credits to Sheryl Koh for allowing us to use her name-card as an example for this blog.