Currently there are 17,000 certified financial planners in Canada adhering to the council’s standards. For those operating without a certificate there is no one body holding them accountable meaning that when something goes wrong clients have no one to turn to. As a result the profession’s reputation becomes tarnished. It’s bad experiences clients have with unqualified planners that lead others into thinking planners aren’t worth having.
Rotstein says there needs to be a universal set of standards and thinks the recession pushed this need forward.
“With respect to the industry, what we’re proposing is to codify in law professional certification within the governance structure that already exists right now. This is with respect to the 22,000 people who have been certified and licensed in Canada. It’s taking the voluntary certification system and basically codifying it in law so that it would ensure the initial costs to the industry are minimized.”
The Ontario government has launched a consultation into whether the current provisions regarding the profession are sufficient. The expert committee are expected to release an interim report in the coming months.
The Financial Planning Standards Council, along with other organizations, has formed a financial planning coalition, which has made its own recommendations to the committee.
Their proposal addresses the lack of a set of standards, which leave clients confused when it comes to what a planner can offer. The Financial Planning Standards Council has asked the Ontario government to codify in law the professional certification structure, governance and oversight mechanisms that already exist in practice.
While this tackles the issue in Ontario, Rotstein states that there needs to be a nation-wide solution.
“The standards need to be harmonized among regulatory sectors. Ultimately, while this is an Ontario solution, the ultimate solution is that we need to have a form of national standards implemented at provincial level. The standard would need to be nationalized.”