Both Advocis and FP Canada have officially applied to become Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) approved credentialing bodies as part of the regulator’s goal to create minimum standards for those using the financial planner and financial advisor titles. 

The Financial Professionals Title Protection Rule was officially approved on Wednesday by the Ontario Minister of Finance. The goal of the rule is to give consumers confidence that their planner or advisor has a minimum standard of education, is supervised by an approved credentialing body and is subject to a complaints and discipline process. 

Advocis has applied to become a FSRA-approved credentialing body and submitted the Professional Financial Advisor (PFA) credential for use of the Financial Advisor and Financial Planner title, and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) credential for use of the Financial Planner title in Ontario.  

Raising the professional bar 

“This is an important step forward in raising the professional bar for our members and clients,” said Greg Pollock, President and CEO of Advocis. “Not only will this help strengthen consumer confidence in choosing who to partner with, but will also help promote consistency and professionalism among those individuals using the titles.” 

FP Canada has also submitted both Certified Financial Planner certification and Qualified Associate Financial Planner certification for use of the Financial Planner title in Ontario. 

"This is a significant and meaningful step forward for consumer protection in Ontario," said Tashia Batstone, President and CEO of FP Canada. "Canadians who work with CFP professionals and QAFP professionals have the confidence of knowing their financial planners have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, experience and ethics to provide the holistic financial planning advice they need. At FP Canada, we strongly believe that all Canadians deserve to have this level of confidence when working with a financial planner.” 

FSRA’s approach to Financial Planner and Financial Advisor title protection leverages current requirements already administered by licensing and professional designation bodies and will be phased in over time.

Four-year transition period 

There will be a four-year transition period for Financial Planners and two years for Financial Advisors, giving those using these titles before January 1, 2020 time to comply with the new framework. 

A group’s submission to FSRA must include an overview of the applicant’s experience as a credentialing body and its knowledge in offering a financial services licence or designation, as well as include how the body will meet the rule’s new requirements. 

“Until now, there has been no regulation of the usage of Financial Planner or Financial Advisor titles,” said Huston Loke, Executive Vice President, Market Conduct at FSRA. “This has contributed to confusion among consumers, and questions about the expertise of individuals offering financial planning and advisory services.”