Canadian Retail Investors View AI as more of a Risk to RI Decisions than Opportunity

February 29th, 2024

Majority of investors surveyed believe their portfolio companies must mitigate risks associated with their use of AI, while also investing in its continued development.

TORONTO – February 29, 2024 – The vast majority of Canadian retail investors are concerned about AI and want to see risk mitigation embedded in their portfolios, according to a new survey from the Responsible Investment Association (RIA).

The 2023 RIA Investor Opinion Survey, based on an Ipsos poll of 1,001 individual investors in Canada, found that 79% feel it is important for their portfolio companies to identify and mitigate possible risks associated with AI, and 74% want companies to provide information on how they are using and investing in it.

Investors are slightly less concerned about greenwashing than they were in 2022, with 68% very or somewhat concerned compared to the previously reported 75%. A strong majority of 69% of respondents agree that RI can have a real impact on the economy and contribute to positive change for society.

The survey, sponsored by AGF Investments and Desjardins Investments, also shows that two thirds of respondents want their financial services provider to inform them about responsible investments (RI) that are aligned with their values, while less than a third report to have been asked if they were interested. RI ownership has remained consistent since 2020, with a third of respondents indicating current ownership.

“Retail investors are interested in responsible investment and want their portfolios to reflect their concerns about social and environmental issues,” said Patricia Fletcher, CEO of the RIA. “However, they lack knowledge on the subject, presenting a significant opportunity for financial advisors to equip themselves to meet these demands and inform their clients on investment options that align with their preferences and personal values.”

AGF Investments

“We’re proud to once again sponsor a survey that inspires meaningful dialogue about RI, while covering timely topics like greenwashing and the perceived risks of AI,” said Judy Goldring, President and Head of Global Distribution, AGF Management Ltd. “This year’s survey uncovers some notable findings and we’re committed to ensuring the advisors we work with have the resources they need to engage in informed discussions with their clients.”

Desjardins Investments

“The results of the questions asked for the first time on Artificial Intelligence speak volumes –
investors want to be informed of the issues surrounding the use of AI and perceive AI more as a
risk than an opportunity,” says Sébastien Vallée – President and CEO, Desjardins Investments.
“This prompts us to consider this crucial dimension in our analyses.”

Additional Highlights:

  • Two thirds of respondents (65%) are interested in RI, with younger respondents generally expressing greater interest than older respondents, and female respondents more interested than their male counterparts.
  • Unchanged from last year, 70% of respondents know little or nothing about RI, including 21% that have never heard of it.
  • Considering the impact of world events, 36% of respondents say they are more likely to choose RI than one year ago, while 44% say they are neither more nor less likely. RI ownership has remained consistent since 2020.
  • 67% of respondents would like their financial services provider to inform them about RI options, however, only 32% said their provider had ever broached the subject.
  • Greenwashing concerns continue to be a deterrent to RI. 68% of respondents are very or somewhat concerned about greenwashing, however, this is lower than the 75% expressing concern in 2022.
  • 46% of respondents view AI as much or somewhat more of a risk than an opportunity. 8 in 10 say it is important for companies in their portfolio to identify and mitigate potential risks associated with AI, while half say it is as important for them to invest in the development of AI and make use of it in their products or services.

View the full report here.

About the RIA Investor Opinion Survey

The Responsible Investment Association publishes the RIA Investor Opinion Survey annually to track individual investors’ perspectives on responsible investment and various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The 2023 Survey is based on data collected by Ipsos from 1,001 Canadian individual investors between November 24th and November 28th, 2023. Investors are defined as individuals who currently own investments such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, bonds, or other securities. The poll has a Bayesian credibility interval of ±3.5%.

About the Responsible Investment Association (RIA)

The RIA is Canada’s industry association for responsible investment. The RIA’s membership includes asset managers, asset owners, advisors, and service providers who support its mandate of promoting responsible investment in Canada’s retail and institutional markets. RIA institutional members collectively manage more than $40 trillion in assets. Learn more at

Media Contact

Ady Jonsohn
Vice President, Content Development and Delivery
Responsible Investment Association