Advisor launches new professional association

By Kate McCaffery | November 22 2019 02:33PM

Photo: Freepik

Over 100 financial planners have banded together to form a new association of financial planners, officially launched Nov. 22, known as the Financial Planning Association of Canada.

Created by the association’s founder and now chairman, Jason Pereira, a financial planner with Woodgate Financial, the association aspires “to build a principled, knowledge-based, Canadian financial planning profession that ultimately commands the credibility, public awareness and respect that professions such as doctors, lawyers and accountants in Canada have earned,” the association says in its founding charter documents. “We must move beyond and ultimately discard many of the structures and concepts that support the current ecosystem.”

Working to evolve financial planning into a true profession

The group’s charter is highly critical of the current state of affairs where, they say deficient standards, regulations and incentives have led many Canadians to believe that industry practitioners are not trustworthy: “While planning may have been born in the world of product sales, the time has come to move beyond the profession’s early origins and work to evolve financial planning into a true profession,” they add. Member commitments set out in the group’s initial charter include a commitment to full cost and fee transparency, to evidence-based approaches in the practice of financial planning and to putting the interest of clients before all other considerations by operating as fiduciaries.

Pereira says he created the association because he believes the country needs one large enough that will specifically fight to raise professional standards and improve transparency. “If you were to pull aside the average Canadian and ask if they think their financial planner has a legal obligation to act in their best interest, the answer is going to be yes, or I hope so. Frankly, that’s not the reality. We’re abusing that trust,” he says. “We want to see everybody who calls themselves a financial planner being a legal fiduciary. In the long run we want to see that happen.”

Regulatory advocacy

The group will initially work on public awareness and regulatory advocacy. It will also create a directory of members and provide an online forum for members, including access to practice management and planning resources on the association’s website. Going forward, it hopes to launch mentorship programs, peer study groups, chapter groups and pro bono planning initiatives for community groups and those in need. National and regional conferences will also be considered as they become economically feasible.

To become a member, planners must, at a minimum, hold the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), the Registered Financial Planner, or the Financial Planner designations and attest to the principles set out in the association’s charter.

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