New rules of conduct released for financial planners

The FSPC has released new guidance provide clear direction on how its rules of conduct should be applied among financial planners

The Financial Standards Planning Council has added guidance to a number of its rules for conduct for Certified Financial Planners and FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning. The guidance is meant to provide clear direction on common issues in the financial planning profession.

The rules themselves reflect the standards of conduct to which FPSC certificants must adhere. The organization has compiled all four sets of standards, plus the new guidance, into a document titled Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals and FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning.

The new guidance was developed following consultation between the FPSC and industry organizations, practicing CFP professionals, members of the FPSC Conduct Review Panel and members of a professional practice working group. The guidance offers practical examples to clarify how FPSC rules should be applied by proposing real-world examples.

For instance, Rule 5 reads: “A CFP professional shall not impugn the reputation of another CFP professional to either clients or the public. Any concerns regarding the unprofessional conduct of a CFP professional shall be referred to FPSC for review in accordance with the provisions of Rule 4 above, unless prevented by law or confidentiality requirements.”

The guidance for the rule further explains:

“Launching personal or professional attacks or discrediting a fellow CFP professional to clients or members of the public is unprofessional. CFP professionals shall avoid criticizing, either directly or indirectly, the competence, conduct or practices of their fellow CFP professionals to clients or members of the public. Where a CFP professional has direct knowledge that another CFP professional has engaged in professional misconduct, such conduct shall be reported to FPSC in accordance with Rule 4.”

“FPSC’s explicit expectations of those it certifies provide Canadians with an important level of confidence about what they should expect and demand from Certified Financial Planner professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants,” said FPSC Vice President of Professional Practice Joan Yudelson. “The Guidance to the FPSC Rules of Conduct provides clarity to ensure the required standards of conduct are consistently met through a broad range of financial planning practices.”

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