RE: Inside Track: Paradigm shift for advisory services on the way, by Keith Costello,, May 18, 2015.

Advocis believes in the power of financial advice. Creating a professional standard for financial advisors will raise the professional bar across the industry, which will benefit all Canadians. However, Advocis does not support an increase in the number of regulatory layers that already exist for financial advisors.

The appointment of the expert committee in Ontario is a practical step to raising the professional bar. Although we don’t know where everything will end up, we’re optimistic that the expert panel will explore simplified options that are in the best interest of consumers and the financial advice industry.

According to Costello’s column, both the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) and Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs) appear to be fully supportive of Advocis’ position. The only difference is that they believe it should only apply to financial planners. In my opinion, this is too narrow and doesn’t really address the industry issues that have been identified. So, why not look at increasing standards for all?

Advocis recognizes and respects designations as the organization offer the courses required to achieve the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered life underwriter and the certified health insurance specialist designation. Advocis just don’t believe that it’s only those with specialized designations who can be considered professional financial advisors. We see each of the designations as a specialization. Consider the medical profession: first you become a doctor of medicine, and then you can go on to become a Cardiologist or other specialist. The financial advice industry should be no different.

Financial advisors who hold a CFP designation pride themselves in adhering to a Code of Ethics. Advocis members, regardless of whether or not they hold a designation, also adhere to a Code of Professional Conduct of which the first tenet is priority of the client’s interest.

Contrary to popular belief, Advocis, the FPSC and the CIFPs are generally on the same path. We all value consumer protection and support an increased standard for our profession. Together, we can increase consumer confidence in the value of financial advice.

Greg Pollock
President and CEO, Advocis

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