Decoded titles should reduce ‘salesman’ advisors

Will IIROC’s glossary unscramble the jargon of financial designations and help weed out the posers?

Decoded titles should reduce ‘salesman’ advisors

IIROC’s latest effort to help investors unscramble the jargon of financial designations with an online glossary is welcome news for advisors - and perhaps a way to weed out the posers.

“In this day and age, if we are professional, it’s necessary to decipher all this information,” says Bev Moir, investment advisor and financial planner with Scotia McLeod in Toronto.

“I think all advisors want to get rid of the ones that make our lives more difficult to be in the profession - the salesman first rather than the relationship. We don’t want someone to be able to say they’re an advisor because they took an online course.”

The new glossary, launched Thursday, will bring clarity to the myriad of acronyms that leave a trail after advisors’ names. Users can access the online glossary for free via IIROC’s investor centre, and decode about 42 commonly used designations in Canada’s financial services industry, some of which require rigorous educational requirements.

“There’s a lot of jargon. It can be overwhelming,” says Moir. “To the public who really rely on us and trust us, these designations should mean something.”

The tool also provides information about the organizations offering certifications, the professionals' status, certification exams, other pre-requisites including education and experience, and any investor complaints or public disciplinary processes. (Continued on Page 2.)


“Investors can easily compare the various certifications, which will help them better understand the qualifications an advisor or potential an advisor is holding out,” said Lucy Becker, vice president of public affairs at IIROC. “We encourage investors to do their due diligence when choosing advisors.”

The glossary was created in follow-up to a survey distributed among IIROC-regulated firms to better understand the use of business titles and financial designations by licensed professionals, and a series of one-on-one interviews conducted with investor representatives. Prior to the launch, the tool was tested, receiving positive feedback from investors.

“It (the glossary) promotes greater transparency and understanding to help investors make more informed decisions,” said Becker. “Investors may be more likely to have realistic expectations about their advisor’s expertise.”

As part of IIROC’s suite of investor education tools, the glossary can be used in tandem with the AdvisorReport service, which provides advisors’ educational background and disciplinary history.