What’s in a title? Increasingly it had better be accuracy, according to IIROC, who are preparing to get tough on firms that allow advisors to imply an expertise that simply doesn’t exist through the use of misleading job titles and/or designations.
On Tuesday IIROC brought out its annual consolidated compliance report that looks at the various issues IIROC dealer members should be concerned about as it pertains to compliance with regulatory requirements.
Amongst the key business conduct compliance issues (BCC) is the subject of business titles and financial designations. IIROC issued guidance last March that addressed this matter.
“No IIROC Approved Person should hold his or herself out to the public in any manner, including without limitation, by the use of a business title or designation of qualifications or professional experience that deceives or misleads, or could reasonably be expected to deceive or mislead, a client or any other person as to the IIROC approval as they hold, their proficiency or qualifications.”
That’s a lot to say you mustn’t pretend to be something you’re not.
In 2015, IIROC will address this issue paying particular attention to a firm’s business model and account offerings. They’re most interested in people that are presenting themselves in a way that suggests an expertise that isn’t present.
“BCC examiners will review any business titles that convey an expertise in senior-related issues or retirement planning, to ensure that any individual claiming such expertise is appropriately qualified.”
IIROC’s annual compliance report discusses many issues and not just title inflation. However, it’s this particular subject that affects investors in a big way.
IIROC CEO Andrew Kriegler stated in its press release: “As a public interest regulator, we are focused on protecting investors, while allowing IIROC-regulated firms flexibility in implementation.”
Just don’t inflate your titles or designations.