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Jordan Banks, president of Rogers Sports & Media, to leave company following battle for control – The Globe and Mail



The departure of Jordan Banks as president of Rogers Sports & Media was announced in an internal e-mail Friday.HO/The Canadian Press

Jordan Banks, the president of Rogers Sports & Media, is leaving the company, according to sources, the latest in a stream of executive departures following a battle for control of Rogers Communications Inc.

Colette Watson, president of the Cable Public Affairs Channel, or CPAC, will take over the role, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Globe is not identifying the individuals because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Rogers Communications did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The departure of Mr. Banks, a former eBay Inc. and Facebook Inc. executive, was announced in an internal e-mail Friday. The change comes after an explosive battle between warring factions of the Rogers family that resulted in the company’s CEO, Joe Natale, being replaced by its former chief financial officer, Tony Staffieri.

There have been a number of executive departures since Mr. Staffieri took the helm last November. Dave Fuller, the president of the company’s wireless division, has been replaced by long-time Rogers executive Phil Hartling.

Chief communications officer Sevaun Palvetzian and Dan Golberg, senior vice-president of strategy and corporate development, have also left.

Rogers director Robert Dépatie, meanwhile, left the board to join the management team, as president and chief operating officer of the Toronto-based telecom’s home and business division.

More to come.

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Eastern Europe TestNew Forms of Media Censorship – The New York Times



With new, less repressive tactics, countries like Serbia, Poland and Hungary are deploying highly effective tools to skew public opinion.

BELGRADE, Serbia — When Covid-19 reached Eastern Europe in the spring of 2020, a Serbian journalist reported a severe shortage of masks and other protective equipment. She was swiftly arrested, thrown in a windowless cell and charged with inciting panic.

The journalist, Ana Lalic, was quickly released and even got a public apology from the government in what seemed like a small victory against old-style repression by Serbia’s authoritarian president, Aleksandar Vucic.

But Ms. Lalic was then vilified for weeks as a traitor by much of the country’s news media, which has come increasingly under the control of Mr. Vucic and his allies as Serbia adopts tactics favored by Hungary and other states now in retreat from democracy across Europe’s formerly communist eastern fringe.

“For the whole nation, I became a public enemy,” she recalled.

Serbia no longer jails or kills critical journalists, as happened under the rule of Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s. It now seeks to destroy their credibility and ensure few people see their reports.

The muting of critical voices has greatly helped Mr. Vucic — and also the country’s most well-known athlete, the tennis star Novak Djokovic, whose visa travails in Australia have been portrayed as an intolerable affront to the Serb nation. The few remaining outlets of the independent news media mostly support him but take a more balanced approach.

Marko Risovic for The New York Times

Across the region, from Poland in the north to Serbia in the south, Eastern Europe has become a fertile ground for new forms of censorship that mostly eschew brute force but deploy gentler yet effective tools to constrict access to critical voices and tilt public opinion — and therefore elections — in favor of those in power.

Television has become so biased in support of Mr. Vucic, according to Zoran Gavrilovic, the executive director of Birodi, an independent monitoring group, that Serbia has “become a big sociological experiment to see just how far media determines opinion and elections.”

Serbia and Hungary — countries in the vanguard of what V-Dem Institute, a Swedish research group, described last year as a “global wave of autocratization” — both hold general elections in April, votes that will test whether media control works.

A recent Birodi survey of news reports on Serbian television found that over a three-month period from September, Mr. Vucic was given more than 44 hours of coverage, 87 percent of it positive, compared with three hours for the main opposition party, 83 percent of which was negative.

Sasa Djordjevic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Nearly all of the negative coverage of Mr. Vucic appeared on N1, an independent news channel that broadcast Ms. Lalic’s Covid-19 reports. But a bitter war for market share is playing out between the cable provider that hosts N1 — Serbian Broadband, or SBB — and the state-controlled telecommunications company, Telekom Srbija.

Telekom Srbija recently made a move that many saw as an unfair effort to make SBB less attractive to consumers when it snagged from SBB the rights to broadcast English soccer by offering to pay 700 percent more for them.

Telekom Srbija’s offer, nearly $700 million for six seasons, is an astronomical amount for a country with only seven million people — and nearly four times what a media company in Russia, a far bigger market, has agreed to pay the Premier League each season for broadcast rights.

“It is very difficult to compete if you have a competitor that does not really care about profit,” SBB’s chief executive, Milija Zekovic, said in an interview.

Marko Risovic for The New York Times

Telekom Srbija declined to make its executives available for comment, but in public statements, the company has described its investments in English soccer and elsewhere as driven by commercial concerns, not politics.

“Their goal is to kill SBB,” Dragan Solak, the chairman of SBB’s parent company, United Group, said in an interview in London. “In the Balkans,” he added, “you do not want to be a bleeding shark.”

Eager to stay in the game, Mr. Solak announced this month that a private investment company he controls had bought Southampton FC, an English Premier League soccer team. Broadcast rights for the league will stay with his state-controlled rival, but part of the huge sum it agreed to pay for them will now pass to Mr. Solak.

Government loyalists run Serbia’s five main free-to-air television channels, including the supposedly neutral public broadcaster, RTS. The only television outlets in Serbia that give airtime to the opposition and avoid hagiographic coverage of Mr. Vucic are Mr. Solak’s cable news channel N1, which is affiliated with CNN, and his TV Nova.

Without them, Mr. Solak said, Serbia “will be heading into the dark ages like North Korea.”

Marko Risovic for The New York Times

Space for critical media has been shrinking across the region, with V-Dem Institute, the Swedish research group, now ranking Serbia, Poland and Hungary among its “top 10 autocratizing countries,” citing “assaults on the judiciary and restrictions on the media and civil society.” Freedom House now classifies Serbia as “partly free.”

In each country, security forces — the primary tools for muzzling critical voices during the communist era — have been replaced in this role by state-controlled and state-dependent companies that exert often irresistible pressure on the news media.

Poland’s governing party, Law and Justice, has turned the country’s public broadcaster, TVP, into a propaganda bullhorn, while a state-run oil company has taken over a string of regional newspapers, though some national print outlets still regularly assail the government.

In December, Law and Justice pushed through legislation that would have squeezed out the only independent television news channel, the American-owned TVN24, but the Polish president, worried about alienating Washington, vetoed the bill.

Hungary has gone further, gathering hundreds of news outlets into a holding company controlled by allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Only one television station with national reach is critical of Mr. Orban and financially independent from his government.

Mr. Orban’s previously divided political rivals have formed a united front to fight elections in April but have been unsuccessful in shaking his stranglehold on the news media.

Marko Risovic for The New York Times

In Serbia, the media space for critical voices has shrunk so far, said Zoran Sekulic, the founder and editor of an independent news agency, that “the level of control, direct and indirect, is like in the 1990s” under Mr. Milosevic, whom Mr. Vucic served as information minister.

Journalists, Mr. Sekulic added, do not get killed anymore, but the system of control endures, only “upgraded and improved” to ensure fawning coverage without brute force.

When United Group started a relatively opposition-friendly newspaper last year, it could not find a printer in Serbia willing to touch it. The newspaper is printed in neighboring Croatia and sent into Serbia.

Dragan Djilas, the leader of Serbia’s main opposition party and formerly a media executive, complained that while Mr. Vucic could talk for hours without interruption on Serbia’s main television channels, opposition politicians appeared mostly only as targets for attack. “I am like an actor in a silent movie,” he said.

N1, the only channel that sometimes lets him talk, is widely watched in Belgrade, the capital, but is blocked in many towns and cities where mayors are members of Mr. Vucic’s party. Even in Belgrade, the cable company that hosts the channel has faced trouble entering new housing projects built by property developers with close ties to the government. A huge new housing area under construction for security officials near Belgrade, for example, has refused to install SBB’s cable, the company said.

Viewers of pro-government channels “live in a parallel universe,” said Zeljko Bodrozic, the president of the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia. Channels like TV Pink, the most popular national station, which features sexually explicit reality shows and long statements by Mr. Vucic, he said, “don’t just indoctrinate, but make people stupid.”

Marko Risovic for The New York Times

The European Union and the United States have repeatedly rebuked Mr. Vucic over the lack of media pluralism, but, eager to keep Serbia from embracing Russia or stoking unrest in neighboring Bosnia, have not pushed hard.

This has given Mr. Vucic a largely free hand to expand the media control that Rasa Nedeljkov, the program director in Belgrade for the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability, described as “the skeleton of his whole system.” In some ways, he added, Serbia’s space for critical media is now smaller than it was under Mr. Milosevic, who “didn’t really care about having total control” and left various regional outlets untouched.

“Vucic is now learning from this mistake by Milosevic,” Mr. Nedeljkov said. Mr. Vucic and his allies, Mr. Nedeljkov added, “are not tolerating anything that is different.”

Marko Risovic for The New York Times

Once powerful independent voices have gradually been co-opted. The radio station B92, which regularly criticized Mr. Milosevic during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, for example, is now owned by a supporter of Mr. Vucic and mostly parrots the government line.

Journalists and others who upset Mr. Vucic face venomous attacks by tabloid newspapers loyal to the authorities. Mr. Solak, the United Group chairman, for example, has been denounced as “Serbia’s biggest scammer,” a crook gnawing at the country “like scabies” and a traitor working for Serbia’s foreign foes.

Mr. Solak, who lives outside Serbia because of safety concerns, said he had become such a regular target for abuse that when he does not get attacked, “my friends call me and ask: What happened? Are you OK?”

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Why Americans are losing trust in elections and the media – Boise State Public Radio




Americans’ trust in both their government and in each other is declining. That might be something you have concluded on your own from watching the news or even talking with your neighbors. But the respected research institute, the Pew Research Center, did what researchers do. They tried to get their hands around this by taking a fresh look at the data they’ve gathered in recent years to try to understand how and why Americans are losing trust in a number of their critical institutions.

Right now, we want to focus on two of those institutions, elections and the media. By elections, we’re thinking about how elections are administered. As you must know, Democrats and many Republicans are engaged in a furious fight over new restrictions that Republican-led states are trying to, or, in many cases, have imposed on the administration of elections. Republicans are calling these common-sense measures to tighten up lax practices or to respond to voter concerns. But Democrats say most of these are unnecessary at best and unfair, punitive and racist at worst, with a clear strategy to keep minorities and others from voting.

As you probably know, the White House and progressive congressional Democrats have been trying to pass new legislation that would standardize some of these rules around the country, an effort that has been stymied both by Republicans and more conservative Democrats. And trust in the media – well, that’s been on the decline for some time, even before former President Trump and his allies started haranguing news reporters and outlets he didn’t like as enemies of the people.

We wanted to hear more about what researchers have to say about this, so we called two of the researchers at Pew, Bradley Jones and Katerina Eva Matsa, to tell us more about what they found out. And they’re with us now. Thank you both so much for joining us.

KATERINA EVA MATSA: Thank you for having us.


MARTIN: So, Katerina, I’m going to start with you. And this is a basic question, but why focus on trust?

MATSA: We know that the news media is an important pillar of U.S. democracy, of democracy overall. So trust is a huge part of that, right? Like, we want to see how trust in the news media may have a relationship with the sources that people turn to and how, especially now, with this misinformation environment that people are in, how they manage to make sense of the world.

MARTIN: So, Bradley, your focus is politics and policy. Faith in the administration of elections has been front and center in no small part because of the riot at the U.S. Capitol. What stands out to you most about Americans’ trust in elections and their election systems?

JONES: Well, that’s exactly right. When the candidate that a person supports loses in an election, we see trust decline. That’s a pattern that we’ve seen pretty regularly throughout our data going back to 2002, after the 2000 election, when we really started studying this in depth.

MARTIN: Has either of you noticed stark trends in regards to who tends to be the most distrustful? Is there any sort of clear pattern that emerges in terms of age or political affiliation or geographic location or anything like that?

MATSA: Yeah. We actually looked at two years’ worth of data between 2019 and 2021. Definitely, partisanship is the biggest factor. And what we saw in the data is that Republicans specifically are the ones that – they have become increasingly distrustful towards the news media. So for instance, like in 2021, 35% of Republicans and Republican leaners trusted national media, compared with 78% of Democrats. Like, this is a huge gap, as you may expect. One caveat to that is that there is a relationship with who is in power at the time – so that relationship shifts. But never before, prior to 2016, we had seen that huge divide between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to their views about the news media.

MARTIN: Hmm. That’s fascinating. Bradley, there’s data to suggest that Americans trust their local elections more than they do federal elections. Can you tell us more about that?

JONES: Yeah. That’s an interesting pattern that we’ve observed across different domains. People just tend to have more comfort with the things that they’re familiar with. And so when we asked people about confidence that their own ballot was counted, we see higher levels of trust in that than people do about ballots around the country, for example.

MARTIN: So I know that you’re both researchers and not policymakers. Can you dream with me for a bit here? And I want to ask you both, what do you think this all means for American society? And what do you think needs to happen to change this?

MATSA: Yeah. I mean, as you know, it’s very tough for us to give any kind of advice in that front. Also, it’s not the one thing. Like, I could talk about polarization, and, OK, there are partisan divides. But it also is different things for different people. For instance, when it comes to trust, we saw that Black Americans are more likely to value their news media when they see themselves in the stories or when they’re – or the news media as part of the community. They’re actually more likely to have that confidence.

There’s so many elements – that’s where I’m getting at. And I know it’s maybe not a very satisfying answer, but there’s so many things that are happening that it’s very, very difficult to say, OK, we need to fix this one thing, and then the relationship is going to be repaired or trust is going to come back.

MARTIN: Well, I think it may not be simple, but if it’s the truth, that’s what we need to hear. Bradley, what about you? What are your concerns about the current moment, and what are some elements that might affect that trajectory?

JONES: Well, the biggest concern is that elections are the primary way that the public is connected to politicians, right? It’s the way that we hold politicians accountable, and it really kind of underpins the whole system. And so if faith and trust in elections is undermined, is – erodes, it’s like the foundation of the building crumbling, right?

You know, we fielded a survey in the middle of last year that had a lot of different election proposals. And there’s a fair amount of partisan agreement across issues in terms of things that could be done to reform elections. So for example, both Republicans and Democrats agree that there should be a paper trail in their balloting. There are large majorities of partisans on both sides. We also see, actually, majority support among both Republicans and Democrats for ID requirements. There’s majority support for making Election Day a holiday and other reforms like this.

So there are things that potentially could be done to bolster trust in the system. But the challenge is, just like you said at the beginning, is that it’s so often framed as a zero-sum argument. And so there are some real challenges. I think you pointed out as well that the messaging coming from elites really matters in these views. So politicians at the highest level bear a lot of responsibility for the things that they say about elections. And those kinds of things filter down into the public.

MARTIN: That was Bradley Jones, senior researcher, and Katerina Eva Matsa, associate director of research. They’re both with the Pew Research Center – such a complex conversation, obviously a conversation we need to have not just once, but many times. Thank you both so much for talking with us and sharing your expertise.

MATSA: Thank you.

JONES: Thank you so much, Michel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Financial advice is exploding on social media, but can you trust it? – Global News



In March of 2020, Ellyce Fulmore found herself without a job and with plenty of time on her hands, like millions of her young millennial and gen-Z peers.

That’s when Fulmore took to TikTok. Though she’d been working as a kinesiologist, she had been setting up a business as a life coach on the side. And she’d also had a stint working at a financial aid office at a recreation centre in Kelowna, B.C. where she helped people low-income individuals and families access recreational opportunities.

After experimenting a bit on the social media platform, Fulmore quickly found her calling.

In whimsical 60-second videos, the then 25-year-old started tackling topics like debt management and budgeting under the handle

The videos would often feature Fulmore lip-syncing to rap music while bite-sized financial tips appeared as brightly coloured text on the screen.

Read more:

Influenced: A Global News series about social media’s impact on and offline

I realized that a lot of people also obviously got laid off and were struggling with their money and not having emergency funds and things like that,” she says.

Two years later, Fulmore, who is based in Calgary, has amassed a following of more than 400,000 TikTokers. She is also quickly building up her fan base on Instagram, where she now has 12,000 followers. Companies like fintech startup Neo and robo advisor Wealthsimple have partnered with her. Countless others, she says, have asked her to be their brand ambassador.

Ellyce Fulmore (Photo provided).

Photo provided

Welcome to the world of so-called finfluencers, where 20- and 30-somethings talk about finances the way they discuss pop culture, fitness hacks and beauty routines.

The recent explosion of financial content on social media comes with questions around conflicts of interest, misinformation and outright scams. Regulators say when it comes to who should own the responsibility of policing bad financial content, the duty shouldn’t necessarily be on the platforms themselves. Instead, the regulators think they should be working with them.

In the decades since the introduction of MySpace and the eventual rise of Facebook and Instagram, the entrenchment of social media in the day-to-day lives of Canadians has become nearly inescapable. Global News is unravelling the many facets of influence these platforms have, including on young people’s investment decisions and their relationship with money.

Personal finance as entertainment

In many corners of the internet, personal finance has long shed its boring image. In the blogosphere and on YouTube, there are plenty of resources that will explain concepts like index investing or tax planning without jargon or the usual cadre of stock photos featuring piggy banks, calculators, professionals in suits and hourglasses.

On TikTok, though, the idea that “finance is cool” has reached a whole other level. It now can be, legitimately, entertainment.

Take one of Fulmore’s most popular videos, for example. It’s called “Starbucks isn’t the reason you’re broke.” In it, Fulmore, performing one of her signature lip-sync dances, captures the zeitgeist of an entire generation who’s been watching the dream of homeownership fade away amid skyrocketing home prices.

“Your daily Starbucks isn’t the reason you can’t buy a house,” goes the first caption. The next slide reads: “$6 Starbucks x 5 days/week = $30 a week.” Then Fulmore does the rest of the basic math: $30 a week multiplied by the 52 weeks of the years works out to $1,560 spent on lattes annually.

“That $1,500 would barely make a dent in a down payment,” the text reads next. The conclusion? “If your daily Starbucks brings u happiness, and fits into your budget… BUY IT.”

The video has more than half a million likes.

Funny videos tend to do better on TikTok, says Hector Diaz, a 24-year-old from Ontario known to his 188,000 followers as cryptocomix.

Diaz, who was working at a call centre before achieving TikTok stardom, says after experimenting a bit on the platform he landed on what he calls “crypto humor.”

“Those ones got more traction, and that’s what gave me the initial kick-off,” he says.

One of his early successes is a video entitled “The most expensive pizza ever,” about the now-famous story among the crypto community of Laszlo Hanyecz, an early adopter of Bitcoin, who reportedly spent 10,000 bitcoins to pay for a Papa John’s Pizza in 2010. The purchase would be worth more than $600 million at the current rate of the world’s most popular digital token.

For 25-year old Vasiliki Belegrinis, known on TikTok as passionstoprofits, the secret sauce of many viral videos often involves mention of Aritzia, the popular Canadian fashion brand. Belegrinis, whose day job is at Clearco, a revenue-sharing firm led by Michele Romanow, of Dragons’ Den fame, has nearly 28,000 followers.

One of her most popular TikToks, for example, is about her shopping at Aritzia coat while also buying Aritzia stock.

“It’s (about) making things much more relatable to the audience that’s actually going to enjoy the content,” she says.

The best finfluencer content out there is approachable and just plain fun, says financial planner Alexandra Macqueen. It demystifies concepts ranging from diversifying investments, using registered accounts and planning for unexpected expenses. There are even videos about how to plan meals for the week.

Read more:

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“There’s a lot of content that just breaks down, you know, the basic building blocks of life,” Macqueen says.

And social media has offered a finance-oriented platform to diverse voices, with finfluencers often discussing how race, gender identity and mental health, among other factors, affect money management.

“That diversity inclusion piece is very important,” Macqueen says. “Finance is demographically older. It’s white and it’s male.”

Reaching users through their phones has become even more important during the pandemic. The average amount of time Canadians spent on their phones increased by a whopping 20 per cent in 2020, according to analytics firm App Annie. And overall, consumers in Canada spent $2.9 billion through their phones during the same period.

Powerful marketing

Successful finfluencers don’t just talk about money — they also make money off their online cachet.

For financial companies, pairing up with social media stars is a great way to reach and gain the trust of an elusive but all-important demographic who use their phone for everything from paying taxes to investing but are often inured to traditional marketing channels.

Teaming up with a social media creator with tens or hundreds of thousands of loyal followers can make for powerful branding.

At CloudTax, a Canadian tax software startup that launched in 2019, finfluencer marketing has been “a huge success,” says founder and CEO Nimalan Balachandran.

Balachandran estimates social media marketing drove around a quarter of the company’s growth. In 2021 alone, CloudTax partnered with more than 15 finfluencers, including Belegrinis.

“We were able to kind of get the message across about filing their taxes by themselves and the services that we offer,” Balachandran says of the hard-to-reach gen-Z audience. “We got quite a bit of great feedback and also a lot of new, younger people signed up for the services through influences.”

A question of trust

Partnerships between finfluencers and financial companies may be a match made in marketing heaven but they come with risks for both parties.

Companies must make sure any sponsored content they bankroll is accurate and abides by existing regulations, especially when it comes to promoting investment products.

Wealthsimple says it works closely with influencers to develop content that’s distributed on the robo advisor’s site rather than on the creators’ own platforms.

The company also says it steers clear of anything that could be construed as providing investment or tax advice. A compliance team vets and approves all content before anyone hits “publish.”

Creators themselves must be careful about who they collaborate with. Trust, after all, is the currency of the finfluencer business.

“Trust is huge and it’s very easy for a creator to kind of stain their name or their reputation,” says Diaz.

That’s why finfluencers often say they do their own vetting of the companies that ask to piggy-back on their social media success.

Click to play video: 'Influenced: Should Ottawa regulate social media?'

Influenced: Should Ottawa regulate social media?

Influenced: Should Ottawa regulate social media?

Fulmore says she mostly pairs up with brands she was already relying on for her personal banking and investing and that she already knows well.

I turn down a lot (of them), like, 10-plus a week because it’s really important to me that I’m only working with those companies that I would actually use or do actually use and really support myself,” she says.

TikTok, for its part, says it requires all content creators to disclose branded content and takes action when it spots unlabelled sponsored content. The company told Global News it has also added public service announcement-style messaging that appears automatically on content carrying popular finance-related hashtags such as #fintok, #stocktips and #cryptotrading. The warnings encourage users to do their own research.

Meta, until recently known as Facebook Inc., which also owns and operates Instagram, says it removes content that purposefully deceives, misrepresents or otherwise defrauds or exploits others.

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Still, the proliferation of investment advice on social media has Canada’s securities regulators pondering whether they need to step up their game.

The British Columbia Securities Commission has proposed new rules that would apply to anyone promoting specific investments online. The consequences of flouting the rules, if they came into effect, would include penalties of up to $1 million for each contravention.

Disclosure requirement laws vary from province to province for companies whose stock is being promoted and the investor relations they might hire, according to the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). The BCSC would like to see more transparency for anyone telling others on social media they should buy, hold or sell investment products.

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“The key idea here is that some people who are promoting stocks online actually have a conflict of interest,” says BCSC executive director Peter Brady. “That could include something like owning shares of the company. Or it could be that they’re getting paid by somebody, not necessarily by the company itself — it could be by another shareholder or investor. We think it’s important that when people are encouraging others to buy investments online that they come clean and tell people what’s their stake in the game.”

The proposed regulations are still under review, but Brady says the goal is that they will eventually be adopted across Canada.

Scams vs. questionable advice

What prompted the BCSC to draft new rules was a flurry of aggressive and opaque promotional activity on social media that started even before the pandemic and involved cannabis and blockchain companies, Brady says.

One big concern is online pump-and-dump schemes, whereby scammers pump up the price of an investment by creating buzz and spreading misinformation only to then dump their holdings of the investment when the price has reached its peak as a result of the promotion. Naïve investors are usually left to hold the bag when the investment’s value suddenly collapses along with the collective enthusiasm for it.

“At any time, there’s (something) like cryptocurrencies (that) are very trendy, that’s going to attract fraudsters,” Henderson says. “Anything that’s trendy — be very careful about the advice that you’re reading or the recommendations that you’re following.”

But in the quality spectrum of online personal finance content, there’s much that lies between the two extremes of sound, unbiased information on the one hand and outright scams on the other.

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Dubious advice, unverifiable claims and questionable investment strategies abound. After a 21-month bull market, for example, there is no shortage of videos of TikTokers bragging about reaping windfall profits with risky bets such as buying and selling crypto or a single stock.

That’s a murkier area for regulators to wade in.

“I actually don’t think we should enforce against bragging,” quips Grant Vingoe, chair and chief executive officer of the Ontario Securities Commission.

But if someone is making concrete statements about the quality of an investment without disclosing that they hold it or have bet against it, then that could be construed as spreading misleading information, Vingoe notes.

“Under general principles of fraud and misleading statements, it’s just wrong to make recommendations like that without disclosing your financial interests,” he says.

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Talking up investments on social media poses another tricky question: is it tailored or generic investment advice?

“If someone is giving you advice on what you should invest in that is tailored to your particular circumstances, that person has to be registered under securities laws,” says Gail Henderson, an associate professor at Queen’s University Faculty of Law.

Securities regulators maintain a searchable online database of professionals who are registered as investment advisers in the province they do business in. They also often flag popular investment scams and schemes on their website.

And newbie investors can find a wealth of accessible and reliable information about basic investment concepts on the OSC’s and the BCSC’s websites.

It’s a different story for personal finance advice. Although there are a number of professional certifications for those who give money advice for a living, including the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, there are no licensing requirements in most of Canada.

With the exception of Quebec, anyone can call themselves a financial planner, although Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are working on regulating that designation.

For her part, Fulmore says she’s very careful to stay within her comfort zone when discussing finances. And she steers clear of talking about specific investments, she adds.

She’s studying to become a certified financial planner (CFP).

The plan, though, isn’t to eventually become a traditional financial planner, she says.

“Part of me getting certified is so that I can just expand on the information that I’m giving online,” she says.

“I see my business as more of a financial education platform, and that’s kind of the goal for the future: to just make financial education more free and accessible.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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