Some have called for a framework that disqualifies the use of all titles other than “financial advisor” and “financial planner”. This would effectively prohibit a number of titles and registration categories that have been established by other regulatory bodies.
Some investors may also have the view that the “Financial Advisor” framework may not be adequate for their needs. For such investors, there is a clear and accessible solution that has been included in the framework. Those who are interested in dealing with a financial services professional who has proficiency in multiple investment categories, or who has a robust understanding of tax and estate planning considerations, will find that these competencies are included as part of FSRA’s framework for the use of the “Financial Planner” title. These investors may wish to seek the services of a Financial Planner.
The minimum standards for credentialing bodies, and the robust process for approving credentialing bodies, were determined after extensive consultations, and are objectively applied by FSRA when reviewing applications. In order to be approved, credentialing bodies must clearly demonstrate that they provide a minimum standard of education, require credential holders to complete continuing education, abide by a code of conduct which includes putting clients’ interests first, and are subject to a complaints and disciplinary process. All approved credentialing bodies meet these requirements, and will be subject to periodic supervisory reviews. FSRA plans to publish the results of such reviews to identify trends and opportunities for improvement.
After public consultations, FSRA also established and implemented a process for reviewing the performance of credentialing bodies. We are confident that this will enable FSRA to identify where credentialing bodies, or their title users, are not meeting minimum standards or are applying inconsistent practices, and will allow us to take corrective action quickly.
In March, we announced that FSRA and the New Self-Regulatory Organization of Canada (New SRO) are working on a model which would see New SRO become a credentialing body for financial advisors. We believe this is a positive step forward which will further FSRA’s continued efforts to protect consumers and foster a sustainable, competitive financial services sector. We are confident that accreditation through New SRO will maintain high proficiency standards and give investors confidence that they are dealing with qualified and committed Financial Advisors.