FSCO report: Should advisors be concerned?

The much-anticipated preliminary report on FSCO’s mandate has been released. Is it time for advisors to worry?

There’s nothing for advisors to worry about in an expert committee’s preliminary position paper on the mandates of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).
“I think advisors shouldn’t be concerned,” said Greg Pollock, president and CEO of Advocis. “They should continue to carry on their practices in the same kind of fashion that they have in the past, ensuring their clients’ interests are upper most in their minds.”
The expert committee was tasked with the review of the mandates of FSCO, the Financial Services Tribunal and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario and resolving a number of complex issues facing Ontario’s financial services sector.
“There might be slightly different requirements on how one renews their licenses annually and other related issues,” said Pollock. “But I just don’t think it will be cumbersome and in fact if that were the proposal we will have serious concerns about it.”
Also included in the paper was the proposed Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), which would be a single integrated organization that performs the same functions as both FSCO and DICO.  “It should exercise both prudential and market conduct functions in a coordinated but distinct fashion,” the preliminary report said.
“I think there’s been a confusion out there that some people believe that Advocis wants to take on that regulatory responsibility,” said Pollock. “That’s not the case. What we’ve been calling for is the creation of a professional body that oversees financial advisors and planners. As we read the proposal it appears to us that a delegated administrative authority does exist within that structure.”
Investor protection was a central focus within the preliminary position paper.
“I did notice the repeated reference to consumer protection and what I read into that is there needs be ongoing and continuous transparency in the industry by intermediaries in terms of the kind of work that they do, the way they’re compensated that sort of thing,” said Pollock. “We support that. That’s one of the hallmarks of professionalism from our perspective.”