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The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) is proposing a series of changes to the standards for certified financial planners (CFPs) that would bolster the obligation to put clients’ interests first as well as introduce enhanced disclosure obligations and other measures to beef up CFPs’ requirements.

The proposals would expand financial planners’ obligation to prioritize their clients’ interests by introducing a new “duty of loyalty” as part of its code of ethics. The FPSC, which oversees the CFP designation, says the new duty would introduce “specific obligations, including the duty to act with honesty, integrity, competence and diligence; to disclose and mitigate conflicts of interest in the client’s favour; and to act with the care, skill and diligence of a prudent professional.”

The proposed amendments also include more detailed disclosure obligations concerning client costs and compensation arrangements; new rules regarding referrals and the end of client/financial planner relationships; an explicit prohibition on lending to, and borrowing from, clients; and new obligations to prospective clients.

The FPSC says that the revised standards, which were crafted by its standards panel, are intended to better reflect the goal of ”acting in the client’s best interest,” which reflects the organization’s “commitment to the professionalization of financial planning in the interest of Canadians.”

“The standards panel is committed to ensuring that the standards appropriately evolve over time in tandem with the continuously changing needs and expectations of Canadians and of the profession,” said Susan Howe, chairwoman of the FPSC’s standards panel.

Feedback on the proposals is due by Sept 14. The new standards are slated to take effect in January 2019.