Saskatchewan field with old bridge

Saskatchewan has cleared a formal hurdle as it moves to regulate the titles of “financial planner” and “financial advisor.” On Friday, the province passed the Financial Planners and Financial Advisors Act.

The act restricts who in the province may legally use the titles of “financial planner” and “financial advisor”: those who obtain, and maintain in good standing, an approved credential from an approved credentialing body.

Saskatchewan’s title regulation act was first introduced in December 2019, following consultations led by the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA). The act is modelled on similar legislation passed in Ontario in May 2019.

Quebec is currently the only province with title regulation in force; it regulates “financial planner” and restricts other titles.

FP Canada and the Financial Advisors Association of Canada (Advocis) welcomed the passage of Saskatchewan’s act.

“Saskatchewanians need professional financial planning advice now more than ever, as many are dealing with new financial challenges,” said Cary List, president and CEO of FP Canada, in a release. “This legislation will benefit consumers by providing them with the clarity and protection they need as they seek professional advice to help them rebuild financial confidence.”

Greg Pollock, president and CEO of Advocis, said in the release that title regulation “will go a long way in elevating the trust and stature” of planners and advisors as professionals.

FP Canada is the credentialing body for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in Canada, and Advocis provides education for five designations, including the CFP and Professional Financial Advisor.

The next step in Saskatchewan’s process toward title regulation is for the FCAA to develop regulations in accordance with the act.

This will include establishing definitions for “financial planner” and “financial advisor,” criteria for assessing credentialing bodies and credentials, and transition policies for existing planners and advisors, the release said.

FP Canada and Advocis noted that the Saskatchewan government will aim to be consistent with Ontario as it also develops rules. The two organizations applauded that approach, calling it “an important step toward national harmonization in the interest of all Canadians.”

FP Canada and Advocis said they’ll continue to provide input to the Saskatchewan government and the FCAA as regulations are developed, and they also “look forward to advocating for harmonized legislation in other provinces, for the benefit of all Canadians.”

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is responsible for developing rules based on Ontario’s title regulation act. Last month, Mark White, CEO of FSRA, forecasted that title regulation would likely be in effect by 2021 at the earliest.

Though FSRA also regulates the life and health insurance sector, it’s unclear whether insurance-licensed advisors will be subject to title regulation.

In a submission earlier this year to Ontario’s provincial budget consultation, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said title regulation should proceed without creating added compliance costs.

Life agents “are already subject to educational requirements and ongoing oversight,” the submission said.