A suggestion to merge the OSC and FSCO to better serve investors is highlighting the benefits and the drawbacks for advisors.
“As someone who believes in a holistic approach to financial planning and in an industry that favours products over people, (such a move) could bring some good benefits and cover a whole slew of issues from mortgages to insurance,” Ted Rechtshaffen, a wealth advisor with TriDelta Financial, told WP. “It might change an advisor’s approach to working with clients but I don’t see such a change happening for several years, even if it’s implemented.”
His comments support an idea put forth by the president and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs). Keith Costello is advocating a merger of sorts between FSCO and the OSC, arguing such a move would help financial planners provide holistic advice and services to clients, including securities, insurance, mortgages and debt management.
That strikes a chord with Rechtshaffen and others who say the arrangement could also force standardization of titles for the insurance and securities sectors, a frequent qualm of advisors who claim a proliferation of fancy titles has obscured the differences in qualifications between industry players and so confused consumers.
Costello’s suggestion could bring about a common and standard database for all licensed registrants and provide one point of contact for consumer information and complaints.
The Ontario government is currently in the process of conducting a series of reviews to consider more tailored regulations for advisors and financial planners.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa would face a wall of questions needing to be resolved if the two regulators were to merge – What do consumers need? How would direct providers serve their clients? How to ensure the system works effectively?
However, John Webster, president and CCO of Queensbury Securities Inc, said that while it’s a nice idea, it’s not “even in the realm of possibilities.”
“The PCMA and CCMR draft legislation would have to be completely re-written to include insurance and I can’t see that happening for myriad reasons,” he told WP. “Merging the FSCO with the OSC would remove Ontario from participation in the CCMR, effectively killing the entire plan.”