Industry association Advocis – who’s president & CEO Greg Pollock has often debated Kivenko on matters such as commissions – has been lobbying for stricter guidelines on titles. “Consumers should be able to count on professionalism and accountability from their advisors,” it says. “Unfortunately, they can't. The reality is that almost anyone can hold themselves out to the public as a financial advisor or planner.”
Major differences, however, exist on whether accreditation and use of titles such as “advisor” and “planner” should be regulated by government or by industry.
Advocis advocates a professions model, under which all financial advisors must become members of an accredited professional association, must meet initial and ongoing proficiency standards and satisfy strict continuing education requirements.
Kivenko, however, believes that the Quebec model – where the financial planner (F.Pl.) accreditation is tightly regulated – should be exported to the rest of Canada.
“A financial planner will have to evolve and it will have to be regulated somehow,“ Kivenko said. “I think Quebec is there now, they have a standard of their own – they don’t use Certified Financial Planners, per say, but they have a standard, they have to pass it, and you can’t use a title of a planner unless you really are one.“
The self-regulatory Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) has also noted concerns about business titles and financial designations.
“Some financial designations, including professional designations like the Chartered Accountant designation, require a specified number of years of work or hours of classroom study, passing an examination, and continuing education,” IIROC said in a January call for comments on the issue. “The requirements for others are much less rigorous; in fact, some financial designations may be obtained after a weekend seminar or through online self-study, with a self-administered examination.”
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