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The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) has proposed the rule changes required to implement its new approach to industry education.

Last summer, the industry self-regulatory organization proposed doing away with mandatory educational courses in favour of exam-based testing for various registration categories based on published competency standards. The approach would also include mandatory conduct training and education/work experience prerequisites for registered reps.

The proposals tabled Thursday drop the planned requirement for aspiring reps to be sponsored by a firm before taking CIRO exams and increase the work experience requirement to four years from two, among other changes.

CIRO said its new approach — which comes as its arrangement with the Canadian Securities Institute is set to expire at the end of 2025 — is intended to lower the cost of licensing while raising industry proficiency standards.

“The proposed rule amendments will have a positive impact on stakeholders, including dealers and [clients], as they will raise the proficiency bar while lowering costs,” the proposals said. Further, the new regime “will eliminate the cost of mandatory courses and allow individuals to demonstrate their competence through passing exams and completing the required training.”

Existing reps will be grandfathered into the new regime, provided they stay in their current role.

The deadline for feedback on the proposed changes, which will be considered as part of the SRO’s overall rule consolidation project, is Sept. 17.

CIRO aims to publish the final rules by the second half of 2025, and to launch the new regime on Jan. 1, 2026.

CIRO also plans to publish a proposal on harmonizing continuing education requirements for investment dealers and fund dealers later this year.

The self-regulatory organization noted that any changes to the proficiency regime for mutual fund dealers will be carried out with the Canadian Securities Administrators, which is currently responsible for registering fund dealer firms and reps.