By: Catherine Martellini
The introduction of the Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans (VRSP) in Quebec set for July 1 sends a message to taxpayers that financial advice isn't necessary to help build their savings, argues the Independent Association of Financial Advisors of Quebec (RICIFQ
"The VRSP puts all advisors in one basket regardless of their license to practice" says Flavio Vani, President of the RICIFQ.
Vani said that for years, the government has insisted on obtaining permits to distribute specific financial products as a means to protect the public. However, under the new regime, this obligation is removed for those selling annuities. This legal requirement will be waived for 24 months for financial institutions that do not house subject matter experts.
"It is a slap in the face for the representatives who have complied with the legal requirements and this is in contradiction with the values of transparency ... the government advocates (for) during all these years," he says.
The government's commitment to improve retirement for taxpayers is welcome, but the savings choice is what's in question. Critics argue that the VRSP harms those the government is seeking to protect.
The product group annuity offered under the VRSP, for example, is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and is particularly unsuitable for individuals with low to moderate incomes. (continued)