Almost half of British Columbians wrongly believe that the title 'financial advisor' is currently regulated and requires some form of accreditation, found a survey released May 7 by Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada.
Advocis says this misperception “places investors at risk of not only receiving poor advice, but also falling victim to unscrupulous actors posing as legitimate advisors.”
The survey of 1,000 British Columbians, conducted by Abacus Data in March, found “that only 54 per cent of respondents are aware that anyone, regardless of education, training, or membership in a professional governing body, can call themselves a financial advisor,” Advocis says. Surveys conducted in Ontario and Manitoba in 2018 yielded similar results.
A tremendous amount of misplaced trust
"For years, we've recognized the dangers that lack of title protection presents for the financial well-being of hard-working families seeking professional financial advice, said Advocis CEO and President, Greg Pollock. "This survey proves there is a tremendous amount of misplaced trust in the market, and reinforces just how badly new regulations are needed to protect the public."
Eighty-nine per cent of those surveyed said they would support the provincial government passing new legislation to regulate the title of 'financial advisor', while, 85 per cent of respondents felt all financial advisors should be subject to a mandatory code of professional conduct.
Call to action
Advocis says it is encouraging the Government of British Columbia to take action to protect the financial security of British Columbians.
“A concrete step towards professionalizing financial advice would be to mirror the Government of Ontario's recent announcement that it would move forward with proposed legislation that would require individuals using the titles of ‘financial advisor’ or ‘financial planner’ to have an appropriate credential.