The Ontario government released a consultation paper March 15 on regulating financial planners in the province, proposing restrictions on the use of the financial planning title, as well as setting out parameters for educational requirements.
The consultation paper follows a report by an Expert Committee in March 2017. That report recommended that the Ontario government create a harmonized regulatory framework for financial planning and advisory services. Included would be establishing proficiency requirements and restricting the use of some titles.
A mystery shopping exercise conducted by regulators in Ontario found 48 different titles used in the industry, but noted they didn’t necessarily accurately reflect a person’s qualifications or expertise.
Use of “financial planner” title to be restricted
Under the government’s proposed regulatory framework, there would be a restriction on the use of the “financial planner” title to only those with a recognized financial planning credential. “This would ensure that all individuals using the title ‘Financial Planner’ in Ontario have the training and expertise to provide financial planning services,” states the paper.
It lays out six proposed standards for recognizing specific requirements, including: a focus on financial planning, a solid educational grounding in financial planning, an examination requirement, a code of ethics and standards, continuing education requirements and a disciplinary process that is accessible for consumers in a timely fashion.
The paper also states that it “will consider an appropriate transition period” for those already using the financial planner title to come up to speed.
The consultation paper raises a number of questions relating to the use of the “financial planner” title, prohibiting the use of titles similar to “financial planner” and creating a central database of financial planners.
Submissions on the consultation paper are set to close April 16, 2018.
Last week, Advocis announced it was introducing two new professional designations and establishing minimum education requirements for new members as part of its attempt to get its members recognized as professionals.
To learn more, read the consultation paper on the government’s website.