FP Canada and Advocis have both welcomed the Ontario government's commitment to introduce legislation to protect titles for financial planners and financial advisors in Ontario.
The province’s newly released budget says that a proposed new framework is being developed for the financial services industry to require that individuals using the financial planner and financial advisor titles have an appropriate credential. Currently, there is no legislated standard in place for those who claim to offer financial planning or advice, underlines FP Canada, formerly known as the Financial Planning Standards Council.
“In all provinces except for Québec, people who use the title 'financial planner' are not required to obtain any credentials whatsoever,” notes the organization.
FP Canada is of the view that everyone who says they are a financial planner should be required to demonstrate that they meet stringent proficiency and ethics requirements, including high levels of education and experience, and attain appropriate professional certification.
A long-standing consumer protection issue
"Most Canadians are confused as to whom to turn to for professional financial advice in Canada, and don't know the difference between the various types of advisors out there. They are at risk of getting advice from someone who doesn't have any relevant expertise or qualifications, or seeking the wrong advice from the wrong people," says Cary List, President and CEO of FP Canada. "We commend the Ontario government for acting quickly on this long-standing consumer protection issue."
Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, also applauded the government for taking the “long overdue action to protect titles for financial advisors and financial planners.”
A serious risk to the financial health of families
"Our members have spent over 10 years championing the professionalization of the financial advice industry," said Greg Pollock, Advocis President & CEO. "Advocis has made it clear to government officials across the country that a lack of title protection presents a serious risk to the financial health of hard-working families seeking professional financial advice…We look forward to working with all provincial and federal stakeholders to ensure this occurs nationwide."
A poll, conducted last fall by Abacus Data on behalf of Advocis, indicated that more than half of Ontarians are unaware that the financial advisor title is currently unregulated.
Advocis calls Ontario’s move a "concrete step toward recognizing the provision of financial advice as a true profession…”