Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019

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Many people who manage their own finances can find it confusing. Trying to find the right adviser can add to that confusion. 

Part of the problem is all provinces, except Québec, have no rules or legislation governing the titles various financial people arbitrarily assign themselves. You can call yourself a financial planner because there are no regulated criteria of qualifications necessary.

That apparently is going to change. In the recent Ontario budget, the province introduced the Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019.

There has been a lot of talk about this topic in the past however, no real progress has been made. If the government carries through with its intent it will be a step in the right direction.

In order to call yourself a “financial planner” or a “financial adviser” you will have to obtain the appropriate credentials and remain in good standing.

A financial planner is someone who helps you meet your financial goals, such as educating your children and planning for retirement. A financial adviser helps you with your investments.

I strongly recommend you determine what your specific financial needs are, and then choose the person, or people, most qualified to help. Do you need help with investments, planning, or both?

FP Canada, formerly the Financial Planning Standards Council, offers qualified individuals the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) designation. There are 9,000 CFP’s in Ontario.

When the proposed new legislation is passed they will still be able to use the title financial planner. Those individuals who do not have the acceptable qualifications will not.

This is significant because historically those who have betrayed unsuspecting clients by calling themselves financial planners when they didn’t have the qualifications, have led to many examples of fraud and theft.

Last fall, Advocis, an industry group representing financial advisers, conducted a survey and 91 per cent of those polled agreed they wanted legislation to regulate the title of financial adviser.

Over half of those surveyed thought regulations on the use of titles was already in effect.

I strongly agree with the initiative of the Ontario government to regulate the use of financial titles.