“All financial planning organizations are full of improving knowledge and standards of their members, so they can do a better job for consumers,” says David Christianson, senior advisor at Christianson Wealth Advisors, National Bank Financial. “Consumer education and services like this new directory are all positive steps.”
Some advisors aren’t convinced the directory will serve much purpose at all, nor of Advocis' altruistic motives.
“Online Internet directories are just gimmicks. Anyone with enough money and time can end up first in Google, which is where people go first,” says Kevin Cahill, certified financial planner with Canadian Legacy Builder in Guelph. “I feel Advocis is investing money to talk about how great of a job they are doing, instead of ensuring that everyone is actually doing a good job.”
Cahill also feels members-only directory is discriminatory against other fully-qualified professionals who aren't Advocis members, and that, subsequently, the directory fails to provide consumers with the best selection of financial advisors on the market.
“You can be fresh in the industry with no education and pay a reduced rate and belong to Advocis and appear on the website,” says Cahill. “Just because this person belongs to a national association means little in the bigger picture of professionalism. To be a professional, you need to be very educated, tested practically on that education and adhere to a code of ethics in a national organization.”
According to Advocis, it has 11,000 members, however those who do not provide direct financial advice will opt out of joining the directory. Check out the Find an Advisor directory at Ouradvisor.ca.