Ontario to regulate use of financial adviser and planner designations: regulator

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TORONTO — Ontario’s financial regulator will soon require anyone using the title of financial planner or adviser in the province to be overseen by a credentialing body and subject to a complaints and discipline process.

TORONTO — Ontario’s financial regulator will soon require anyone using the title of financial planner or adviser in the province to be overseen by a credentialing body and subject to a complaints and discipline process.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario said on Wednesday that the new regulations will also require those who use the securities to meet a minimum standard of education and abide by a code of conduct.

The higher standards and accountability mechanisms come after consumers have long expressed concerns about the lack of oversight in the industry and the need to ensure those using the advisor and planner titles possess the appropriate expertise.

The move aims to bring consistency, clarity and transparency to the financial services industry, while helping investors ensure they are receiving advice from qualified professionals who will be held accountable for any missteps.

“That’s a huge plus for consumers right now because it’s very difficult for them to really understand, except sometimes looking back to 2020, the quality of service they’re getting,” the FSRA chief executive said. , Mark White.

He acknowledged that the new standards were slow in coming, but pointed out that they had been in the works for many years.

The province said in Budget 2019 that it would introduce legislation to list the use of financial planner and advisor designations for those who have obtained credentials from FSRA-approved bodies.

The new standards developed with feedback collected over the past two years will come into force on March 28, but will be gradually implemented over time for certain finance professionals.

FSRA will give financial planners and advisors who used the title before January 1, 2020 time to comply. Financial planners using the title previously will have a four-year transition period, while advisers who used the title will have two years to comply with the new standards.

Anyone who begins using these credentials after this date should immediately obtain credentials from one of the FSRA-approved credentialing bodies that will be named in the coming weeks.

FSRA has taken a step-by-step approach so that those who provide “legitimately good” financial counseling services are not disadvantaged and have time to explore which accredited body is best suited, White said.

Although there are always complaints about the new rules to follow, he expects the standards to be well received.

“People don’t generally welcome new legislation, but it’s very interesting because not only are consumer investment advocates behind it, but I think the vast majority of participants who provide financial advice are behind it,” he said.

“They realize that the good suppliers are currently lumped together with people who don’t have a good education, who don’t want to be held to the standards of the code of conduct.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 23, 2022.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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