Financial advisors do not need additional layers of governance, and should push back against attempts to unnecessarily increase regulation, according to John Dargie, chairman and president of Independent Financial Brokers (IFB).
Speaking at the IFB Spring Summit in Toronto on Tuesday, Dargie said he was pleased that Bill 157: An act to regulate financial advisors died on the order paper when the Ontario election was called earlier this month.
“It’s over, for now,” Dargie said.
The bill had proposed to regulate all advisors who receive commissions or remuneration for advice in Ontario (with certain exceptions), holding all advisors to the same proficiency standards, code of conduct and continuing education requirements. It also proposed the formation of a new regulatory body, which would have the power to create regulations, enforce the code of ethics and levy fines against registered advisors.
The IFB has been vocal in publicly opposing the bill, arguing that it would duplicate the existing framework of insurance and securities regulators, and would fail to improve consumer protection. It would ultimately lead to additional red tape for advisors who already follow the rules, while failing to effectively keep fraudsters out of the market, according to the association.
“We don’t need extra layers of governance,” Dargie said. “We are professional people. We are not the bottom of the barrel.”
Although the Ontario bill will not be moving forward given the looming election, however, Dargie noted that proposals similar to Bill 157 are currently being floated in other parts of Canada. He said it’s critical for advisors to speak out against reforms that add to the regulatory burden without properly addressing consumer protection concerns.
“What we’ve seen here in Ontario has given us a glimpse of into what our future as advisors might look like if we don’t work together and make our voice heard,” Dargie said.