Ontario Securities Commission draws parallels between investors in cannabis and crytocurrencies

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Nearly one-third of all cannabis investors relied on advice from friends and families before buying their shares.

However, only 18 percent decided to purchase cannabis company shares based on advice from a financial representative or portfolio manager.

That's according to an October survey of more than 2,000 Canadians by the Ontario Securities Commission.

"We observed similar patterns with respect to cryptoasset owners earlier in 2018," the OSC stated in a new article on its website.

The article noted that 66 percent of cannabis shareholders "primarily own stocks of companies whose primary business is in the cannabis sector".

Another 13 percent "primarily own stocks of companies that engage in the cannabis sector but have more diversified activities". And nine percent "primarily own cannabis-focused mutual funds or ETFs [exchange-traded funds]".

The remainder fell into the "other" and "don't know" categories.

Nearly one-quarter of respondents—23 percent—reported investing more than $10,000 in cannabis companies, whereas 52 percent stated that they invested less than $5,000 on cannabis shares.

The survey also revealed that 28 percent put money into U.S. cannabis companies, mutual funds, or ETFs. That was "despite continued legal uncertainty with respect to the cannabis industry in the United States".

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Those with low financial knowledge or who reported having a low risk tolerance were as likely as individuals with higher knowledge or risk tolerance to own cannabis investments," the OSC stated.

One in three first invested in the cannabis sector in the past six months.

"Behavioural insights show that some investors may be predisposed to seek out and buy into the latest, most popular investments—and may do so even if these investments don’t fit their long-term financial goals," the OSC noted. "These investors may overestimate their risk tolerance and might not diversify their investments enough."

In a June 2018 study, the OSC found that men between the ages of 18 and 34 were most likely to own cryptoassets.

"It appears men in this age group were also the most likely to invest in the cannabis sector, as well as the most likely to express interest in investing in the sector," it added.

Statistics Canada recently reported that Canadians are expected to spend $5.9 billion on cannabis on an annualized basis this year.

 

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