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Alerts & Updates

FPSC Standards Panel Proposes Amendments to the Standards of Professional Responsibility

Proposed amendments ensure financial planners certified by FPSC are held to appropriately high professional standards expected by the public and for the benefit of all Canadians

TORONTO, ON – August 9, 2018 – Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC)’s Standards Panel—an independent panel appointed by the Board of Directors and comprised of financial planners and members of the public—has proposed amendments to the Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP® Professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning (the Standards of Professional Responsibility). The proposed amendments, which will continue to advance professional financial planning in Canada, are being released today for public consultation.

The Standards Panel is responsible for the maintenance of the standards for the financial planning profession, including the Standards of Professional Responsibility, which define the ethical and professional responsibilities of Certified Financial Planner® professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants. The Standards of Professional Responsibility encompass four sets of FPSC standards:

  • Code of Ethics;
  • Rules of Conduct;
  • Fitness Standards; and
  • Financial Planning Practice Standards.

In late 2017, the Standards Panel struck a working group composed of CFP professionals from diverse practice backgrounds to review the Standards of Professional Responsibility to ensure its currency and ongoing relevance in today’s financial planning environment. In June 2018 the panel reviewed and approved the proposed amendments.

The proposed amendments include the introduction of a “Duty of Loyalty” in the Code of Ethics, which would replace the existing “Client First” principle. The Duty of Loyalty would enhance the duty requiring CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants to place the client’s interests first by encompassing 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. This expanded standard better reflects the notion of “acting in the client’s best interest”, and reflects FPSC’s commitment to the professionalization of financial planning in the interest of Canadians.

Various other proposed amendments, such as a prohibition on lending to clients and borrowing from clients, and new obligations to prospective clients, among others, are intended to ensure financial planners certified by FPSC are held to appropriately high professional standards expected by the public.

“The Standards of Professional Responsibility represent the rigorous ethical and professional responsibilities required of CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants. The standards provide important direction to support the professional practices of financial planners,” says Susan Howe, CFP, Chair of FPSC’s Standards Panel. “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.”

Full details on the proposed amendments are available here.

FPSC invites stakeholders to provide input on the proposed amendments. Respondents may provide comments in writing to standards@fpsc.ca with reference to the specific amendment or rule on which they are commenting. The consultation period will be open until Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The Standards Panel will review the feedback received and consider further revisions to the Standards of Professional Responsibility based on that input, as appropriate. The new standards will take effect in January 2019.

About Financial Planning Standards Council

A professional standards-setting and certification body working in the public interest, FPSC’s purpose is to drive value and instill confidence in financial planning. FPSC ensures those it certifies―Certified Financial Planner® professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning―meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics. There are more than 18,500 Financial Planners in Canada who have met, and continue to meet, FPSC’s standards. More information is available at FPSC.ca and FinancialPlanningForCanadians.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Megan Harman
Financial Planning Standards Council
mharman@fpsc.ca 
416.593.8587, ext. 232 or 1.800.305.9886