Trying to keep up with the ongoing implementation of the second phase of the client relationship model (CRM2) is not unlike riding on a subway at rush hour, says Barbara Amsden, managing director of the Toronto-based Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC).
“We all know where we’re going, we all know that everyone needs to get there — hopefully at the same time — and we’re all hoping that there are no breakdowns along the way,” said Amsden, a panelist at a CRM2 seminar in Toronto hosted by Investment Executive on Wednesday.
One potential breakdown that Amsden is concerned about is the issue of the definition of book cost. Starting in July 2015, advisors will need to include book or original cost in quarterly account statements, she said. However, there is some debate as to what exactly regulators mean by the term.
For example, the Canada Revenue Agency’s definition of book cost is different from the Toronto-based Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). Moreover, some professionals aren’t even sure what book cost means generally. Said Amsden: “I talked to an account who had never heard of book cost.”
Another question that arises with the implementation of CRM2 is the large amount of paperwork it will require, whether in the form of new account statements or Fund Facts documents. Advisors and their dealers must make use of mobile technology, according to Paul Walker, president and CEO of Mississauga, Ont.-based IFS Global Technologies Inc., to handle that growing amount of required paperwork.
“We have to embrace mobility, we have to embrace smartphones, we have to embrace tablets,” said Walker, also panelist at the seminar. “We have to look at how we get technology to drive this process so that it can be easy and intuitive at the point of sale.”
Smartphones and tablets will allow advisors to discuss and distribute all the necessary documents easily to clients at meetings, said Walker. Furthermore, with the right technology, dealers will be able to track what documents were given to clients and at what time should complaints or regulatory issues arise.
Walker recommends dealers offer advisors a “Bring Your Own Device” program so that they can choose the mobile phone or tablet along with the operating software that best works for them.
In addition to CRM2, regulators continue to look at other changes that could have a big impact on the industry, particularly in regards to mutual funds. In December 2013, the Canadian Securities Administrators published a paper requesting changes to the standardized risk classification of mutual funds, which is published in the Fund Facts documents. If this risk classification is implemented, a significant number of mutual funds would have their ratings changed to a higher risk level, according to Bruno Carchidi, vice president and chief compliance officer at Toronto-based Dynamic Funds and fellow panelist. This would affect hundreds of thousands accounts.