Special Feature

New rules for advisors and financial planners?

The final report of the Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Financial Planning Policy Alternatives makes several recommendations dealing with titles and credentials that are likely to have a significant impact on many in the investment industry.

 

Included in this special feature are the notable developments in this area since the Ontario government announced its commitment to regulate financial planners and financial advisors. Photo copyright: kritchanut/123RF.

Industry News

Malcolm Heins to chair expert committee on the regulation of financial planning

By James Langton |

The committee charged with recommending reforms to the regulation of financial planners in Ontario was unveiled Monday by Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

As outlined in the provincial government's latest budget last week, the committee is expected to deliver a final report in early 2016 recommending reforms.

See: Ontario budget: Regulating financial planning

The committee is to be chaired by Malcolm Heins, a lawyer, who led the reform of the regulation of paralegals as the CEO of the Law Society of Upper Canada. It also includes Anita Anand, a University of Toronto law professor; Paul Bates, a securities industry veteran and former commissioner at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC); and Lawrence Haber, executive chairman of Diversified Royalty Corp. and a special policy advisor to OSC staff. Both Anand and Bates have also spent time heading up the OSC's independent Investor Advisory Panel (IAP).

"Today's appointment of this expert committee reaffirms Ontario's commitment to reform and strengthen the province's financial services sector, protect investors and consumers, and bolster the stability and efficiency of financial markets," said Sousa.

The government has pledged to review of regulation of planners, to enhance oversight in an area of the industry that currently has no explicit regulation; and, with a view to helping investors make more informed financial decisions. "Unlike many financial service sectors in Ontario, financial advisors and planners are not subject to general regulatory oversight, which could leave consumers and investors vulnerable. This review will focus on addressing this gap by examining more tailored regulations," the government notes.

Initial reaction from the industry was positive.

"The expert committee members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience which will be needed to consider the complex issues and varied perspectives of consumers, investors, advisors, and the financial services industry in general", said Nancy Allan, executive director of Independent Financial Brokers of Canada, in a release.