Title protection: New SRO wants to be credentialing body

Move would enable thousands of advisors to use 'Financial Advisor' title, says CEO

Title protection: New SRO wants to be credentialing body

In a move that could enable thousands of professionals to use the "Financial Advisor" title, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) and the New Self-Regulatory Organization of Canada (New SRO) are working on how the latter can become a credentialing body under the Financial Professionals Title Protection Framework.

A press release said that, if agreed, the New SRO will have the authority to grant credentials that permit the use of the “Financial Advisor” title in Ontario under the province's Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019 (FPTPA). The approval will be subject to conditions as outlined in the Financial Professionals Title Protection (FPTP) Rule and related guidance.

The New SRO regulates, among other things, individuals working at mutual fund or investment dealers that provide investment advice to Ontario consumers. The aim is to ensure the New SRO’s participation as a credentialing body would not result in regulatory duplication.

The release added that FSRA will be proposing an amendment to the FSRA Fee Rule that, if approved, would reduce New SRO’s fees, to recognize that the OSC already provides oversight of its activities.

 “This is a positive step forward and, once implemented, will provide a tremendous benefit for both consumers and financial services professionals in Ontario,” said Mark White, FSRA CEO. “Participation of New SRO under the title protection framework, and the support of the OSC, furthers FSRA’s continued efforts to protect consumers and to foster a sustainable, competitive financial services sector.”

The New SRO, which launched in January 2023, is a consolidation of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA). “Accreditation through New SRO will maintain high proficiency standards and give investors confidence that they are dealing with qualified and committed Financial Advisors,” said Andrew Kriegler, CEO, New SRO. “Allowing credentials to be approved by New SRO enables thousands of highly qualified financial services professionals in Ontario to use the Financial Advisor title, while avoiding any duplication of regulatory requirements or cost,”

FSRA-approved credentialing bodies are responsible for overseeing the conduct of their Financial Planner and Financial Advisor credential holders and enforcing compliance with minimum requirements. The title protection framework came into effect when the FPTPA and the FPTP Rule came into force in March 2022.