The Ontario government has announced that it will be working with regulators over the next year to restrict the use of titles related to financial planning.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa told a conference in Toronto that a central registry of those providing financial planning and advisory services will be set up, as recommended in an Expert Committee report released in mid-March.
That report recommended that minimum proficiency standards be placed on those who call themselves financial advisors or financial planners and that restrictions be made on the use of those titles.
The report also supported a statutory best interest duty, a contentious issue in the industry.
“Bottom line: our actions are aimed at enhancing the obligations of financial advisors and financial planners toward their clients,” Sousa said in a prepared text.
“Moving forward, the government will rely on both the report and the outcome of the CSA’s consultations… as we examine the feasibility of a statutory best interest duty in Ontario.”
Allow self-regulatory organizations to collect fines
On the enforcement side, Sousa said the government is also proposing legislative changes that will allow self-regulatory organizations (SROs) to collect fines levied against individuals.
The finance minister said taking this step will help deter potential offenders from wrongdoing.
“Better collection would increase funds available for the SROs to pursue their regulatory activities and strengthen investor protection,” Sousa said.
The move was welcome news to the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC), among others.
“As a public interest regulator, this new enforcement tool will enable us to provide stronger protection to the investing public and collect fines from wrongdoers who have previously evaded paying the penalty for their misconduct,” said IIROC president and CEO Andrew Kriegler.