IFIC and IIAC Say Ontario Should Regulate Financial Planners

By Andrew Rickard | September 23 2015 10:57AM

The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) are calling on the Ontario government to introduce legislation to govern those who hold themselves out to the public as financial planners.

IFIC and IIA published their joint submission to the provincial government's Consultation on Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives on Sept. 21. The document includes a proposed accreditation framework, and argues that Ontario should establish common standards for advisors who provide comprehensive financial plans to clients or who call themselves “financial planners” or use a similar title.

In particular, they recommend that the Ontario Ministry of Finance work with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to develop a legal framework to clearly define and harmonize standards for financial planners and financial plans, as well as criteria for approving accreditation bodies. They have also called for the creation of a Financial Planning Authority to govern the activities of planners who currently operate outside of regulated channels; this entity would be responsible for registration, compliance exams, enforcement, and client complaint-handling.

As for those advisors who are licensed by FSCO and the OSC, the submission argues that any new regime should allow these regulators to retain their authority over them. "They, and only they, would continue to regulate dealers or managing general agents and their respective businesses and agents operating within the insurance and securities channels," reads the document.

That said, the joint submission cautions the Ontario government against creating a framework that would make firms and individuals accountable to many different regulators, saying that this kind of approach would create "inefficiency, fragmentation, and confusion for clients".