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The designated financial services advisor (DFSA) credential, overseen by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI), is no longer an approved credential for the “financial advisor” title in Ontario.

At the CSI’s request, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) removed the DFSA as an approved credential, the regulator said in a release on Thursday.

The credential’s removal won’t affect most DFSA credential holders’ ability to use the financial advisor title, because most of them hold other approved credentials for title use, the release said.

To ensure the “small number” of impacted DFSA holders have time to obtain another credential, the release said, FSRA has implemented a six-month transition period: on Nov. 22 of this year, the DFSA will no longer qualify for use of the financial advisor title, it said.

The DFSA, which launched and was approved by FSRA in September 2022, was described by investor advocates as a rubber stamp for the industry to use the financial advisor title, given that the credential’s requirements were similar to securities and fund registration requirements.

In January of this year, FSRA approved the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) as a credentialing body, so that all registered representatives and mutual fund dealing representatives could call themselves financial advisors (as could portfolio managers and associate portfolio managers).

The CSI informed FSRA on March 21 that it would no longer administer the credential for title protection purposes, according to a regulatory notice from Tuesday revoking approval of the credential.

On March 21, FSRA’s registry of credential holders for the financial advisor title indicated that 2,009 people held the DFSA, or 3.4% of credential holders. Licensing accounted for 96.4% of credential holders.

As of Thursday, the DFSA was still listed on the CSI’s website as one of the credentials offered by the education provider, and 2,548 DFSA credential holders were listed on the site. The credential was last granted on May 14, the site said.

The CSI hadn’t responded by publication time to a late-day request on Thursday asking why it decided to no longer administer┬áthe DFSA.

Ontario’s title protection regime, which has been criticized for its multiple approved credentials and, when it comes to the financial advisor title, its product-based approach, raised controversy earlier this year related to the financial planner title. In March, FSRA approved the chartered financial planner designation, overseen by the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning (CIFP), for the financial planner title.

An industry coalition subsequently called on FSRA to make the CIFP rename its credential or rescind approval, citing consumer confusion with the certified financial planner designation, which is overseen by FP Canada and subject to global standards.

In April, CIFP filed a claim against FP Canada for trade libel and agreement breach.

The CSI has a FSRA-approved credential for “financial planner” use: the personal financial planner (PFP) designation. As of March 22, the PFP accounted for about 20% of financial planner credential holders, according to FSRA’s registry of credential holders.