Five Organizations Work Together Towards a Common Set of National
Standards to Better Protect Canadians
TORONTO, May 31, 2011 /CNW/ - Currently, anyone in most provinces and
territories can claim to be a financial planner without meeting
requirements for qualifications or professional oversight. For the
first time in Canada, five organizations involved in financial planning
standards, education and certification have united to form The Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planners (the
Coalition). The Coalition's mandate is to work towards establishing a common set of
national standards which would provide Canadians with clarity and
better protection when engaging financial planners.
Coalition members include: Canadian Institute of Financial Planners
(CIFPs), The Financial Advisors Association of Canada (Advocis),
Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), the Institute of Advanced
Financial Planners (IAFP) and the Institut québécois de planification
The first act of the Coalition was to develop a Statement of Principles which sets the foundation for its work going forward in establishing
national standards. The Statement of Principles states that any
individual in Canada who holds themselves out to the public as a
financial planner and/or claims to provide financial planning services
must meet approved professional standards related to education,
experience, examination, ethics and professional duty of care - and be
accountable to professional oversight.
Currently, financial planning credentials in Canada are voluntary (with
the exception of Quebec). There are no nationally agreed-upon
parameters outlining minimum standards of competence and ethics or for
professional oversight for financial planning credentials. This leaves
Canadians without a consistent means to reliably identify financial
planners who are qualified, competent and held to an ethical standard.
While the Statement of Principles is not meant to be exhaustive, it
provides a foundation for stakeholders to work together towards
establishing national standards that better serve and protect the
public when engaging financial planners. The Coalition calls on all
stakeholders to help take its work to the next step in establishing
national standards for financial planning.
"Canadians need an objective and more reliable way of distinguishing
between those who falsely claim qualifications as a financial planner
and those who have met proven standards of competence and ethical
duty. Until this occurs, the Canadian public is left with confusion on
how to navigate their decisions when choosing a financial planner and
with no recourse if their planner falsely represents their
qualifications," says Keith Costello, President, CIFPs.
"All professionals such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, must meet
minimum standards of proficiency, ethical conduct and accountability.
Why shouldn't financial planners be held to similar standards? Until
Canada raises the bar on standards for financial planners the public
will not be amply protected from unqualified individuals who claim to
be qualified when they are not," says Greg Pollock, President and CEO,
"Professional oversight is a critical requirement for any professional
and financial planners should be no different. To truly protect the
public, anyone who calls themselves a financial planner or claims to
offer financial planning services should not only be required to meet
minimum standards of competence and ethics - they should also be
accountable to professional oversight by a body that, by design, is
dedicated to protecting the public interest," says Ken Bates,
"Canadians should not have to guess if they are making the right choice
when choosing a financial planner. Our work at the Coalition supports
the recommendation from the Federal Task Force on Financial Literacy
which highlighted the need to help Canadians become better informed
when choosing a financial practitioner. We look forward to a day when
all Canadians who engage financial planners can be assured that there
are national standards in place," says Cary List, President and CEO of
"This is a Canadian-first. National in scope, the Coalition is focusing
on ensuring all Canadians have a means to judge the qualifications of
prospective financial planners. We are proud to join this Coalition
and work towards a meaningful solution that better serves the Canadian
public," says Jocelyne Houle-LeSarge, President and CEO of IQPF.
About the Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planning: Members of The Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planning have
come together to work towards establishing a common set of national
standards for individuals who offer or claim to offer financial
planning services. Members include: Canadian Institute of Financial
Planners (CIFPs), The Financial Advisors Association of Canada
(Advocis), Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), the Institute
of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP) and the Institut québécois de
planification financière (IQPF). Each coalition member organization has a mandate that supports
professional standards in financial planning, is committed to serving
the public interest, and engages in the education, certification and/or
oversight of financial planners.
See www.coalitionforprofessionalstandards.ca for more.
Notes to Editors: See 'Statement of Principles" (backgrounder); photos of members
signing the Statement of Principles available.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this release are available
on the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/
Statement of Principles of the
Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planners
Financial Planning is the process of creating strategies to help people
manage their financial affairs to meet life goals. Financial planning
professionals are critical to furthering the collective financial
health of Canadians. Financial planners provide much needed expertise,
methodologies and guidance in making sound financial decisions and
engaging in appropriate financial behaviors. Canadians rely on these
professionals and their services.
The current regulation of individuals providing financial planning
services is limited, exists in a piece meal form based on industry, and
is mostly focused on regulations regarding the sale of product, not on
the activity or the service itself. With a few exceptions (for example,
Quebec, and to a lesser extent British Columbia) there are no
restrictions on individuals using financial planning titles. Existing
professional credentials are strictly voluntary, and there is no
unified set of standards on which various financial planning
credentials must be based. There is also no clear cut regulatory
authority to oversee financial planning standards or the services of
financial planners, and there is no single access point for consumers
to file complaints.
The public must be protected from those who falsely claim to be
qualified and subject to professional standards as financial planners
but are not, from those individuals not acting in their clients' best
interests and from those who misrepresent the terms "financial
As a result, the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs),
Financial Advisors Association of Canada (Advocis), Financial Planning
Standards Council (FPSC) and the Institute of Advanced Financial
Planners (IAFP) and the Institut québécois de planification financière
(IQPF) have come together to form a Coalition for Professional
Standards for Financial Planners ("the Coalition") to promote
consistent standards required for individuals who offer or claim to
offer financial planning services.
Points of Agreement Amongst the Coalition
Coalition members agree to the following principles:
Individuals must be held accountable to professional oversight if they:
Call themselves a financial planner or advertise a financial planning
Claim to offer financial planning services; or
Claim to prepare financial plans; or
Create an expectation that consumers are dealing with a provider of
professional financial planning.
This professional oversight is not meant to encroach on the activities
of financial advisors or insurance advisors who routinely undertake
needs analyses but who do not claim to be offering financial planning
and who are not preparing formal financial plans, nor is it intended to
take the place of the regulation of products and product-based advice.
In order to avoid conflicts of interest, this professional oversight of
financial planners must be undertaken by organizations whose principal
purpose is to serve the public interest.
The individuals identified in item 1, above, must:
Meet the following minimum requirements before they can call themselves
a financial planner:
Achieve a prescribed level of education related to financial planning;
Obtain a minimum prescribed amount of work experience related to the
discipline of financial planning;
Pass a prescribed examination that demonstrates competence in financial
Agree to be held accountable to a Code of Ethics, Practice Standards and
rules and regulations of a professional body; and
Agree to engage in prescribed continuous education.
Meet the following minimum professional duty of care:
Put their clients' interests ahead of their own;
Act with the skill, care, diligence and good judgment of a professional;
Disclose all material facts including conflicts of interest;
Avoid conflicts of interest; and
Fully disclose and fairly manage, in the clients favour, unavoidable
conflicts of interest.
The professional duty of care set out above describes the obligations
that a financial planner should owe to his clients in all situations,
regardless of the specific engagement or nature of the relationship.
While this list of principles adopted by the Coalition is not meant to
be exhaustive, the Coalition fully endorses these fundamental key
principles as the basis for moving forward to ensure the public is well
served by those offering financial planning services to their clients,
and invites others who support the principles set out above to work
with the coalition.
SOURCE Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planners
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