The Financial Planning Coalition released a framework for the official establishment of financial planning as a profession: a profession that Canadian consumers can trust.
In its proposal, the Financial Planning Coalition calls on provincial governments to codify in law the professional certification structure, governance and oversight mechanisms that already exist in practice, but that are currently voluntary for the 22,000 certified or licensed financial planners in Canada, and make them a requirement for all who wish to claim financial planning as their own.
Specifically, the Coalition recommends:
- Adoption of a single, unified set of standards for financial planners.
- Recognition and adoption of the Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards & Competencies (a joint publication of Financial Planning Standards Council and the Institut québécois de planification financière, the two organizations that establish and maintain standards for the financial planning profession in Canada).
- Creation of title and holding out restrictions to only those who have demonstrated their competence by meeting a single set of unified qualification standards, ongoing professional ethics and continuous professional development requirements.
- Accountability of financial planners to a professional oversight body that understands financial planning and professional obligations and that represents the public interest.
While the Coalition proposal is simple in nature, the professional recognition of financial planners in Canada ensures that the growing financial planning profession will consist only of professionals who embrace the established core values of any profession, centred on regard, always first and foremost, for their clients’ best interests.
A survey recently released by the Financial Planning Coalition revealed that while many Canadians feel they have insufficient knowledge to adequately plan their financial future, they are also unaware of the lack of mandatory standards for financial planners throughout most of Canada. Fewer than half of respondents (49 per cent) understood the unique role of a financial planner compared with other financial advisors, the qualifications for financial planners, or the manner in which they conduct their business. Many Canadians also mistakenly believe that there are mandatory standards for financial planners through government or professional regulation.
Read A Matter of Trust: English (PDF) | French (PDF).