RE: To “Profession” status, by Dan Hallett, Investment Executive, March 2016

Achieving a “profession” status is a shared goal between Advocis and other industry associations. However, on the road to professionalism, we must remember to be inclusive of all financial advisors — not just a specialized subset. All financial advisors in Canada engage in financial planning in order to serve their clients. This is why the Ontario government’s expert committee was tasked to thoroughly consider more tailored regulation of financial advisors, including financial planners.

Bill 157, The Financial Advisors Act, 2014, addressed this concern. While it died on the table as a result of the last provincial election, it would have been the first legislation in Canada to directly regulate all financial advisors — not just a subset. The bill defined a financial advisor as one who engages in the business of providing financial advice. And financial advice was defined as providing advice on investment, financial risk management, or financial risk mitigation matters that identify a client’s financial needs, risks or objectives and establishes strategies to address them.

I agree with Hallett that the second phase of the client relationship model has added to the momentum in Ontario and that we are closer to our collective goal as an industry to professionalize. But the solution we adopt should be holistic in nature. Anyone in Ontario can hold themselves out as an advisor or planner, so only regulating the title “financial planner” still leaves consumers at risk.

Above all, consumer protection must be at the forefront of our mission. We have a responsibility to protect those who trust us with their financial well-being.

Greg Pollock
President & CEO, Advocis