Financial Planning Coalition

Financial Planning Coalition

June 15, 2015 10:39 ET

Financial Planning Coalition Releases Proposed Regulatory Framework for the Official Recognition of Financial Planning as a Distinct Profession

A Matter of Trust

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 15, 2015) - Today, the Financial Planning Coalition released a framework for the official establishment of financial planning as a profession: a profession that Canadian consumers can trust.

Since its inception in 2009, The Financial Planning Coalition, whose members include the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs), the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP), the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF) and Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC), has urged provincial governments to recognize financial planning as a distinct profession whose members require specialized knowledge, skills and abilities; are bound by a code of ethics and rules of conduct specific to the financial planning profession; and who are entrusted with vital responsibilities and obligations as they deal in matters of critical importance to their clients and society as a whole.

In its proposal, the Financial Planning Coalition calls on provincial governments to codify in law the professional certification structure, governance and oversight mechanisms that already exist in practice, but that are currently voluntary for the 22,000 certified or licensed financial planners in Canada, and make them a requirement for all who wish to claim financial planning as their own.

Specifically, the Coalition recommends:

  1. Adoption of a single, unified set of standards for financial planners.
  2. Recognition and adoption of the Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards & Competencies (a joint publication of Financial Planning Standards Council and the Institut québécois de planification financière, the two organizations that establish and maintain standards for the financial planning profession in Canada).
  3. Creation of title and holding out restrictions to only those who have demonstrated their competence by meeting a single set of unified qualification standards, ongoing professional ethics and continuous professional development requirements.
  4. Accountability of financial planners to a professional oversight body that understands financial planning and professional obligations and that represents the public interest.

Cary List, President and CEO of the Financial Planning Standards Council notes, "The Coalition professional self-regulatory framework ensures the profession remains self-funded by financial planners and establishes no additional regulatory burden other than to require that all who claim be financial planners meet and continue to meet the competency and ethical requirements already established for the profession through Certified Financial Planner® certification across Canada and for those who obtain the Pl. Fin. designation in Quebec. When adopted, these long established standards would no longer be voluntary for those who wish to claim financial planning as their own."

While the Coalition proposal is simple in nature, the professional recognition of financial planners in Canada ensures that the growing financial planning profession will consist only of professionals who embrace the established core values of any profession, centred on regard, always first and foremost, for their clients' best interests.

A survey recently released by the Financial Planning Coalition revealed that while many Canadians feel they have insufficient knowledge to adequately plan their financial future, they are also unaware of the lack of mandatory standards for financial planners throughout most of Canada. Fewer than half of respondents (49 per cent) understood the unique role of a financial planner compared with other financial advisors, the qualifications for financial planners, or the manner in which they conduct their business. Many Canadians also mistakenly believe that there are mandatory standards for financial planners through government or professional regulation.

List is adamant about this vital consumer protection issue: "Canadians deserve to know that when they work with someone who claims to be a financial planner, that they will be working with someone who has met strict, enforceable standards of competence, practice and ethics, who is committed to ongoing professional development, and who is accountable to a professional body that represents the public interest," he says. "This is truly a matter of trust."

About the Financial Planning Coalition

The Financial Planning Coalition was formed in 2009 to create a framework for the official recognition of the financial planning profession that will best serve the public interests of Canadians. Members of the Coalition include the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs), the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP), the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF) and Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC). Each Coalition member organization has a mandate that supports professional standards in financial planning, is committed to serving the public interest, and engages in the education, certification and/or oversight of financial planners. More information is at financialplanningcoalition.ca.

For more information regarding this important consumer protection issue contact:

Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs): CIFPs is an association for financial planners in Canada providing advocacy on specific and peripheral issues affecting the financial planning profession and industry; offering education and networking opportunities to its members; and providing relevant and timely resources specific to the professional financial planner's practice.

Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP): The IAFP® is a member-driven organization committed to the ongoing development and promotion of the Institute's R.F.P. designation as well as providing Symposia and other educational offerings on subjects related to advanced financial planning.

The Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF): IQPF is the only organization in Quebec authorized to grant financial planning diplomas and to establish rules concerning the ongoing professional development of professional financial planners. Only professionals recognized by the Institut québécois de planification financière are authorized to use the title of Financial Planner (F.Pl.) in Quebec.

Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC): FPSC is a not-for-profit organization which develops, promotes and enforces professional standards in financial planning through Certified Financial Planner® certification. FPSC's purpose is to instill confidence in the financial planning profession. As a standards-setting and certification body, FPSC ensures that those it certifies meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics.

Contact Information