March 28, 2014 | Dian Chaaban


I heard about this last summer but didn’t really believe it…distracted drivers beware: Panhandling police officers are actually out there – as confirmed by news talk 1010 earlier this week on the radio. These undercover cops aren’t looking for change - they’re waiting for you to break the law as you routinely reach down to check your blinking, buzzing or dinging phone. Even though we know it’s wrong and dangerous, we do it because it could be super duper important. Right? No. Nothing could be more important than your safety and those around you in that moment.

We all know this - but we’re so conditioned these days to seek and provide instant gratification that we flinch as soon as the catalyst ignites … I'll even admit that I sometimes hear, see or feel my phone phantom calling me when it is in fact, not.

By the way, texting while walking can be dangerous as well ... I once fell face first into a body-size puddle because I was paying more attention to my e-mails than I was my footing (if only I had the new patent application from Apple which continuously captures and displays video images of the environment ahead of you).

So, while the idea of undercover cops is sneaky and somewhat bothersome, I agree with them on this one. 26% percent of car crashes are tied to cell phone use and the main message is that it needs to stop because the penalty of being distracted is more than a fine and demerit points when your safety is at stake.

The altruistic notion of going undercover to expose those doing ‘wrong’ was also exercised last month when CBC News went undercover to various banks during RRSP season to evaluate if consumers were being given accurate, fair and knowledgeable advice. The tests revealed a wide range in the quality of advisers; some performed well, giving clear answers and asking appropriate questions about the tester’s financial situation and risk tolerance. Others were described as ‘atrocious’. Yikes!

Helping to make the industry more transparent across the board is IIROC’s Client Relationship Model, which fundamentally requires all member firms to be more transparent with fees and explain new performance measures to clients. The quality of trust and relationship you have with your advisor makes all the difference and choosing this person is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make. Before entering into any partnership, go undercover yourself and make sure you ask the following 7 key questions in your interview process.

Enjoy the weekend.


Dian Chaaban

Investment & Wealth Advisor

Chaaban Wealth Management Group