The title is now only for professionals meeting minimum proficiency and education standards
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has officially approved the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) as a credentialing body under Ontario's Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019 (FPTPA).
The recent approval empowers CIRO to confer credentials enabling individuals to utilize the "Financial Advisor" title in Ontario. CIRO's approval extends to the following categories of individuals:
- Registered Representative
- Mutual Fund Dealing Representative
- Portfolio Manager
- Associate Portfolio Manager
Under the FPTPA's provisions, titles such as "Financial Advisor" and "Financial Planner" are now restricted to professionals meeting or surpassing minimum proficiency and continuing education standards. These professionals must adhere to a code of conduct, prioritizing clients' interests. The FSRA said title protection of this nature is a first for Ontario.
"By approving CIRO as a credentialing body, tens of thousands more investment professionals can use the Financial Advisor title. Officially being recognized as a Financial Advisor will further the value of CIRO members and the recognition of their education and expertise," said Huston Loke, Executive Vice President of Market Conduct at FSRA.
CIRO, established in January 2023, resulted from the consolidation of the former Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the former Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) with a mandate to protect investors and support healthy Canadian capital markets. The FSRA said that CIRO's designation as a credentialing body aligns with its focus on enhanced investor protection.
Andrew Kriegler, President and CEO of CIRO, said, "Accreditation through CIRO will give investors confidence that they are dealing with highly qualified Financial Advisors. Receiving accreditation through CIRO will allow financial services professionals in Ontario to use the Financial Advisor title while avoiding any duplication of regulatory requirements or costs."
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), in coordination with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), oversees and recognizes CIRO as the self-regulatory organization that regulates, among other things, individuals working as mutual fund or investment dealers that provide investment advice to Ontario consumers. As such, FSRA, the OSC and CIRO worked together to ensure that CIRO's participation as a credentialing body under the title protection framework would not result in regulatory duplication.
To help ensure the Financial Professionals Title Protection Framework is working as it should, FSRA has committed to reviewing the framework by the end of the fiscal year on March 31. The review is expected to assess the framework's effectiveness and explore opportunities for improvement, including proficiency standards alignment and evaluation of credentialing body policies and processes.
FSRA maintains a list of approved credentialing bodies on its website, facilitating title users and consumers in identifying credentials and allowing the use of Financial Planner and Financial Advisor titles. A credentialed Financial Planners and Advisors registry in Ontario is expected to launch early in 2024.