Expert Committee Recommendations Have Potential for Increased Consumer Protection in Ontario

TORONTO, April 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) was pleased today to receive preliminary policy recommendations put forth by Ontario's Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives.

FPSC is encouraged by a number of key consumer protection recommendations that we have long advocated for.

We support the introduction of title restrictions on those who imply, either expressly or implicitly, that they are financial planners. Further, FPSC agrees that the prohibition on non-descriptive titles for those offering various forms of financial advice and the adoption of plain language titles would go a long way to further protect consumers and reduce confusion.

Further, FPSC supports the Committee's recommendations that there be a unified set of financial planning standards, including a standard which ensures that the clients' interests come before all others. This requirement aligns with the current ethical obligations of Certified Financial Planner® professionals, who must put their client's interests first at all times.

FPSC has worked tirelessly over the years to establish unified standards and recently published, along with the Quebec Institute of Financial Planning, a unified set of standards for all financial planners in Canada, which includes a single set of standards of practice, ethics and competence.

While FPSC is supportive of several of the Committee's recommendations, Cary List, President and CEO, cautions that "The success of any recommendations rests in the details and implementation. Given that the Committee has recommended that the authority to establish universal standards be included in the mandate of the current regulators, if those recommendations proceed, it is imperative that the regulators work closely and cooperatively with FPSC as the national standard-setter for financial planning, to ensure that Ontarians are appropriately protected."

FPSC also supports recommendations for the establishment of a central registry and for the Ontario government's support for financial literacy initiatives for all Ontarians, both of which will benefit individuals and society.

"Establishment for a single, harmonized set of standards is vital to protecting consumers' financial well-being," says List. "In today's world, well-intentioned consumers too often place their financial well-being in the hands of individuals who are not necessarily qualified or held accountable for their actions. Regulation that ensures appropriate proficiency, ethical obligations (including a mandatory provision that puts the client's interest before all others), and accountability will help foster consumer trust in the profession. FPSC looks forward to playing a key role in such regulation."   

FPSC looks forward to providing further advice to the Committee as it seeks additional counsel throughout the spring.

About Financial Planning Standards Council
As a standards-setting and certification body working in the public interest, FPSC's purpose is to drive value and instill confidence in the financial planning profession. FPSC ensures those it certifies (Certified Financial Planner® professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning) meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics. FPSC has long supported the promotion of financial literacy for all Canadians. More information is available at www.fpsc.ca.

CFP®, Certified Financial Planner® and the CFP mark with flame design are certification trademarks owned outside the U.S. by Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB). Financial Planning Standards Council is the marks licensing authority for the CFP marks in Canada, through agreement with FPSB. All other ® are registered trademarks of FPSC, unless indicated. © 2015 Financial Planning Standards Council. All rights reserved.

SOURCE Financial Planning Standards Council

For further information: Caroline Horcher, Manager, Public Affairs, Financial Planning Standards Council, chorcher@fpsc.ca, (416) 593-8587, ext. 232 or 1-800-305-9886

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