A Quebec MGA leader is accusing Quebec’s Finance Minister, Carlos Leitão of succumbing to pressure from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and major financial institutions by orchestrating the disappearance of Quebec’s Self-Regulatory Organization for financial advisors – the Chambre de la sécurité financière.

In an open letter published in French on the Journal de l’assurance’s website this week, Guy Duhaime, the CEO and founder of Managing General Agency Multi Courtage, doesn’t pull any punches. He writes that the Finance Minister is being dictated to by the AMF – Quebec’s financial markets regulator, Desjardins Group and the major banks. He attributes Leitão’s past as a "banker" as the reason he lends them "an attentive ear".

He also criticized the AMF for being permeable to the lobbying efforts of these large financial institutions. These institutions, according to him, wish to see the Chambre disappear. Not only would this enable them to save money, it would also get rid of provincial regulatory obstacles and allow them to conduct their pan-Canadian business more smoothly.

Why the emergency?

Guy Duhaime is outraged that the whole thing is being done “behind the backs” of advisors. "Without warning, during a public finance committee in early May 2017, the Minister announced that he would be eliminating our professional body, even before the proposed bill was tabled…" wrote Duhaime.

Why the rush? To facilitate the sale of insurance by internet, or without an advisor? To look good for the International Monetary Fund’s next visit? To counter arguments from Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau regarding the proposed national securities regulator? "Are we just the victims of a federal-provincial dispute?" Duhaime asks.

A plea for the profession

In his letter, Duhaime delivers a plea for the profession that he does not want to see transformed into that of clerk-sellers, relieved of all independence. The elimination of the Chambre would have this impact, he contends, and would take the role of advisors back 30 years.

"We also realize that the AMF quite often questions our role as independent advisers," he adds. "We are always portrayed as having "conflicts of interest". He added, "I want my status as a professional…to stop being questioned by the AMF and other Canadian jurisdictions."