The truth about financial advisers

Anyone can call him or herself financial adviser

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From the September/October 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Getty Images/Hero Images

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Q: Are financial advisers governed by any professional society similar to Chartered Accountants in Canada? —Peter Manian

A: My astrologer, if I had one, could call herself a financial adviser if she wanted to. Unlike CAs, financial advisers do not have one society or one set of educational requirements because the moniker isn’t regulated. Your adviser could have an alphabet’s worth of letters after her name, or none at all. She could be a licensed mutual fund salesperson, a certified financial planner, a broker, a portfolio manager or a chartered financial analyst—and each one has a separate set of standards. Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, has been supporting a bill to regulate the term and lay the groundwork for a national standard. Greg Pollock, its president and CEO, says “increasing adviser professionalism will better protect consumers, and build trust in an industry that has a significant effect on the lives of many Canadians.” I think it’s a good idea but my astrologer’s crystal ball gives no indication as to if or when that might happen.

Bruce Sellery is a frequent guest on financial television shows and author of Moolala. Do you have your own personal finance question? Write to us at ask@moneysense.ca

3 comments on “The truth about financial advisers

  1. What a poor article.

    Reply

  2. This is a very odd comment. You are giving the false impression that financial advisers are not regulated.. .In that, you are not correct at all.. The real truth is that a Financial Adviser(or) can not give himself/herself any job title they want. As you are well aware, I can’t call myself a Registered Representative, Investment Adviser, Investment Executive, etc.

    For public protection, I think investors would want their adviser to be regulated by a federal and provincial securities regulator and SRO (Self Regulatory.Organization) rather than merely just an in-house professional organization. For an Ontario based adviser you would be governed under the following securities regulators and SRO’s ( not including the insurance sector): CSA, OSC, MFDA, IIROC and RDBA.

    Should advisers form their own professional association? It is probably a good idea as advisers generally, have very little say in helping form and improve securities regulation. And that is a shame.

    Just because we don’t yet have such a lobby organization, doesn’t mean that that advisers are not regulated in any way.

    Reply

    • Anyone can call himself/herself a financial advisor in Ontario, regardless of qualifications. Some aspects of what that financial advisor is allowed to do may be regulated, but the term “financial advisor” itself is not. Bruce’s comment was spot on.

      Reply

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