Advocis launches new advisor designation

Association says qualification will meet the changing requirements and expectations of the marketplace

Advocis launches new advisor designation

Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, has launched a new designation for Canadian financial advisors.

The Professional Financial Advisor designation, or PFA, is designed to meet the changing requirements and expectations of the marketplace. Advocis said in a release that “it will distinguish true professionals with the essential knowledge and skills to help Canadians achieve their financial goals”.

Greg Pollock, president and CEO, added: “Sound financial advice is needed now more than ever, and governments are moving forward to protect consumers with regulations that require all financial advisors to hold a valid credential.

“The PFA designation will help ensure the quality of advice available to Canadians and close the credentials gap, as three quarters of licensed or registered advisors do not currently hold a professional designation of any kind.”

In May 2019, Ontario passed legislation that restricts the use of “financial advisor,” “financial planner” and all similar titles to those with approved credentials from recognized professional bodies; implementing regulations are expected to come into force at the end of 2020. 

Meanwhile, other provinces are following suit with similar legislation, including Saskatchewan, which tabled legislation in December 2019 that is largely consistent with the regulatory approach taken in Ontario.

Advocis said that recent opinion research found that the new regulations have been well received by the public, with 72 per cent of Ontarians agreeing that professional designation requirements will help protect consumers and that other provinces should adopt similar regulations to better protect all Canadians. 

“The PFA program is focused on preparing candidates for success in the real-world business environment and it offers a direct pathway to more advanced and specialized qualifications,” said Barbara Riddell, Vice President of Education and Membership at Advocis. “With the PFA designation, Advocis is building on decades of experience delivering high-quality designation, certification and continuing education programs for advisors.”

The development of the PFA program was informed by a pilot program initiated last year, which ultimately attracted more than 350 participants.

The PFA curriculum is built around the fundamental technical knowledge required to assess the best solutions for clients to achieve their financial goals, including financial planning foundations, taxation and investment planning, and retirement income planning. PFA candidates are also equipped with the essential practice-management skills to build and grow a successful financial advisory practice, including sustaining client relationships, prospecting and marketing and business planning. Throughout the program, a strong emphasis is placed on compliance and ethical practices, from the legal and regulatory framework to professional standards and conduct.

The press release added: “Created with working professionals in mind, the PFA curriculum enables program completion and business-readiness in 24 months, while balancing the responsibilities of full-time work.  Upon completion, PFA designation holders receive advanced standing for nine of the 12 core curriculum modules within the Advocis Core Curriculum Program for QAFP™ and CFP® Certification, and the CLU® designation program.”

Applications for the PFA program are open through March 31, with courses commencing on April 1. For more information about the PFA designation and to apply online, visit: