Advisors continue to question CSI monopoly

Industry players have had time to reflect on IIROC’s decision to extend its education contract with CSI for another five years but that doesn’t mean they’ve cooled off

Advisors continue to question CSI monopoly
Industry players submitted a total of 14 detailed opinions prior to IIROC making its decision last month on whether to extend the CSI monopoly; one month later, advisors question about the five-year extension are actually growing.
“My problem is more to do with the quality of CSI material which I would describe as ‘uneven,’” Dan Bortollotti, an advisor with PWL Capital in Toronto, told WP. “You can definitely tell there are different authors for different chapters. So you’ll read one chapter and think it’s really good and then read another and it’s quite poor. And you can tell that there is two different people writing it.”
While Bortollotti is echoing others concerns about the content CSI delivers, others are questioning whether that course work may be biased in favour of active management.
Those concerns haven’t abated since IIAC’s six-page submission from November 2014. Then it made it perfectly clear some of its members had a problem with the value provided by the CSI. Furthermore, it believes competition would produce a better educational offering for its members.
“Proficiency is an important regulatory initiative. Overall, members do not believe that CSI has been providing value relative to its cost nor offering the highest quality of education,” said the IIAC submission. “In short, as a matter of principle, we strongly believe that competition drives innovation and efficiency, which cannot be said for the current proficiency assurance model with its exclusive reliance on CSI.”
While Bortolotti understands that it might not be financially viable to offer some of the courses in a multiple-provider system, he still believes higher quality must be the goal of any delivery model.
“A more consistent and higher quality would be welcome,” said Bortolotti, who’s done at least half a dozen courses or more over the last five years. I don’t hate the monopoly idea if it’s done properly.
“(but) I think the competitive bidding (in 2020) will probably help in terms of improving the quality of writing and how it’s presented.”