In June 2019 the Ontario government introduced the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (“FRSA”). The FRSA is an independent regulatory body set out to oversee certain financial service professionals. FRSA was created to replace the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario. Sectors that the FRSA is involved in regulating includes property and causality insurance, life and health insurance, credit unions and caisses populaires, loan and trust companies, mortgage brokers, heath services providers related to auto insurance and pension plan administrators.
The FRSA includes both a credentialing body as well as an arm to deal with complaints for misconduct or negligence and discipline. The FRSA has set out that certain professionals must meet a minimum standard of education and abide by a code of conduct to use certain titles of a profession.
The FRSA will soon require financial planners and financial advisors to be overseen by the FRSA. In fact, under the Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019, the use of the designation “financial planner” or “financial advisor” will only be allowed by those individuals who have received approved credentials from a credentialing body that has been approved by the FRSA. As of March 2022, the FRSA’s financial professionals title protection rule has been approved by Ontario’s Minister of Finance. This is set to come into effect on March 28, 2022.
This move by the Ontario government was necessary to bring certain measurable standards of practice and accountability in order to prevent misconduct or negligence. Many of these professions, including financial advisors or financial planners, must have a certain level of the qualified expertise to try to protect the public from unscrupulous service providers.
Many of the above occupations include important information which is given to consumers and that is very difficult for the layperson to understand. It is a good move that the government is trying to ensure that there is a certain quality of control of information and service that a consumer would be receiving from these professionals.