In most parts of Canada anyone can claim to be a financial planner without qualifications or professional oversight. With the goal of changing this situation, five organizations involved in financial planning standards, education and certification have banded together to form The Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planners.
The coalition’s mandate is to establish a common set of national standards to provide Canadians with clarity and better protection when working with financial planners, said the group in a press statement released May 31.
The members of the coalition are: the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs), Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP), and the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF).
The first act of the Coalition was to develop a Statement of Principles which sets the foundation for its work going forward in establishing national standards. These principles state that “any individual in Canada who holds themselves out to the public as a financial planner and/or claims to provide financial planning services must meet approved professional standards related to education, experience, examination, ethics and professional duty of care — and be accountable to professional oversight.”
Currently, financial planning credentials in Canada are voluntary (with the exception of Quebec).
Interviewed by The Insurance and Investment Journal, during CIFPs 2011 annual national conference held in Ottawa in early June, Keith Costello, president and CEO of CIFPs, said that this coalition marks the first time that there has been a coordinated effort from groups representing advisors to be proactive in promoting solutions for the regulation of financial planning. “It’s really important that we’ve all come together…and are putting solutions in front of the powers that be to protect the public against financial planners who do not have the credentials…to do financial planning.”
Mr. Costello added, “We have to work together to have industry-led solutions versus top down regulation, which in my view never works.”
He added that “the next step for the coalition is to roll up their shirt sleeves and start getting more detailed about what any standards would look like and…to continue the outreach to regulators, legislators and companies to make sure they have some input on our recommendations.”