Regulation like being in a hurricane, says Toronto advisor

Regulation like being in a hurricane, says Toronto advisor

Regulation like being in a hurricane, says Toronto advisor Punish all for the acts of a few. That is what one advisor feels the industry is up to, as regulators run an increasingly tighter ship.

“It’s just a part of being in the business,” says financial planner Rona Birenbaum, founder of Caring for Clients. “Even if you are a responsible advisor and you put a client’s interests first and document everything, if there is a percentage of the industry that doesn’t do that, than it’s just going to be more work for all of us.”

Although Birenbaum believes in the philosophy behind regulation, adding that client protection is paramount and professional bodies must be in place to keep things in check, she says playing 'big brother' can go too far.

“Unfortunately, like with many things, the pendulum is swinging a little too far,” she says. “Regulators can only see black and white, and there is a lot of grey in our business.”

In particular, Birenbaum cites additional requirements – like seeking mandatory client approval for the simple change of a phone number – as time wasters, which negatively impact service levels and the overall client experience.

“What’s been frustrating to me is how much time, energy and money is being spent on activities – and these are things like crossing  your Ts and dotting your Is – really mundane things that are adding a level of cost and time to the business,” she says. “We are devoting some of our time and attention to activities that aren’t quite as value-added.” (continued.)

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  • Gdn 2014-02-18 3:17:22 PM
    I agree, the time I spend on all this is killing me because there is a belief that suddenly all bad people will become good by imposing more regulations?!? I'll be interested to know if anything changes for the good for the general public as a result. I, at this point, severally doubt it.
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  • Mike H. 2014-02-22 2:21:20 PM
    The first step in many frauds perpetrated on clients is to change the address and phone number on the books of the dealer to ones the crook controls. That's why all address and phone number changes need to be confirmed.
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  • Joseph Sask 2014-02-22 7:01:23 PM
    I want to go further. All the regulatory boards across Canada are getting paid to sit on those boards and develop policies, procedures and regulations to govern the Advisors. This is all being done in the name of " Good Governance ". The cost for these people to sit on the boards is being paid for by the investors, I believe. What is shocking is in an industry that is approxiamately $400 billion in value, where the average MER fee is 2.5% per year. That represends a staggering $10 billion per year fees that are being paid for by the investor, yet there is no, I repeat NO accountability or reportability of these fees to the investor.
    This alone is a crime of epic proportion. When is someone, anyone going step forward and fire every board member for this crime. Or do we all Advisors have to wait until 31-103 comes into effect in 2016.
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