Ontario to restrict use of planner and advisor titles

Legislation will protect the use of financial planner and advisor titles and include a proficiency requirement

Andrew Willis 12 April, 2019 | 5:00PM

The Ontario government says it will move to restrict the use of "financial planner" and "financial advisor" titles, requiring individuals to meet criteria yet to be announced. The plan is part of a series of initiatives on a stated mission to improve investor confidence in provincial capital markets.

“The proposed new framework is being developed for the financial services industry to require that individuals using the financial planner and financial advisor titles have an appropriate credential,” Ontario finance minister Vic Fedeli’s budget reads. The budget was tabled after the stock market closed yesterday.

Currently, there is no legislated standard in place for those who claim to offer financial planning or advice. Except for Quebec, no other province requires people who use the title 'financial planner' to obtain any credentials, FP Canada pointed out in a press release welcoming the decision. 

“The new title protection framework will take a measured approach to enhance consumer protection without introducing unnecessary regulatory burden,” the budget states.

The mitigation of regulatory burden is a key point, as the initiative falls within a greater approach to drive what the government says is a need to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the capital sector in Canada.

The budget’s new ‘Capital Markets Plan’ features five ‘elements’, including the (continued) operation of the OSC’s Burden Reduction Task Force, as well as the establishment of an Office of Economic Growth and Innovation.

Another element of the plan titled “Improving Investor Experience and Protection” includes plain-language requirements, improvements in financial literacy education, and a goal to “eliminate unnecessary or outdated regulatory requirements," among other things.

The plan also assures Ontarians of an “economically focused rule-making” approach to changes in capital markets rules using qualitative and quantitative analysis. However, while the approach states it would enhance transparency and inform stakeholders of the impacts of new rules, it does not provide further detail into how it will quantify costs from decreased investor protection should any burden reduction efforts break down protective barriers.

The Progressive Conservative government, lead by Premier Doug Ford, also announced a five year plan to balance the budget by 2023-24, from a $11.7 billion deficit at present.

About Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis  Andrew Willis is a content editor for Morningstar.ca.