No professional order for Quebec financial planners

By Hubert Roy | August 27 2008 02:34PM

Financial planners in Quebec will not have their own professional order. The Office des professions du Québec announced this decision on June 23. The Office is the government body responsible for supervising Quebec’s professional orders.

Quebec’s financial planner’s association, the Institut québécois de la planification financière (IQPF) asked the Office to hold consultations on this topic. The IQPF has been working on this initiative since 2003. Jocelyne Houle-LeSarge, general manager of the IQPF, declined to comment on the Office’s decision for now.

Despite this setback, the IQPF is continuing its efforts. It has requested a meeting with the Quebec Minister of Justice, Jacques Dupuis. In addition, four other departments in the provincial government have opposed the creation of a professional order for financial planners, including the Ministry of Finance.

These ministries are not the only opponents, the Office claims. The Autorité des marchés financiers, the Chambre de la sécurité financière, Canadian Securities Administrators, the Canadian Bankers Association, the Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec, the Barreau du Québec and the Chambre des notaires du Québec also gave the plan a thumbs down. Three financial institutions have also rejected the proposed order: Desjardins Group, National Bank and Investors Group.

Individuals were more supportive. Out of 238 submissions the IQPF received, only 17 opposed the project. Most of the respondents were financial planners the Office points out.

The Office says that the respondents did not shore up their arguments. With two exceptions, respondents expressed their position in a few lines. One third of respondents simply underlined their support for the IQPF’s proposal.

Bad timing

Following the consultation, the Office concluded that it would be unwarranted, even “inopportune” to rethink the current structure. Presently, financial planners are regulated under the Chambre de la sécurité finanicère and the IQPF oversees educational requirements.

It added that creating an order would not solve problems within the profession, such as inadequate training or the use of misleading titles.

The Office admits that if the current framework did not exist, it would be worth creating a professional order for financial planners. It points out, though, that many financial planners also practise in other financial disciplines that are presumably controlled by a professional order. Lastly, the Office says it is convinced that improvements to the supervision of financial planners can take place within the current framework.

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