This is sponsored content submitted by Sun Life Financial.

On July 1, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam—identity theft, phishing and spyware—from occurring in Canada.

For trusted advisors this can seem inconvenient; now you’ll need to obtain consent to communicate electronically with your clients and this can change how you market yourself and your business. Factor in the effect of other regulatory changes and the impact can seem significant—especially initially. However, I believe these changes also create a tremendous opportunity for advisors who are well-positioned to demonstrate the value of financial advice.

Your responsibility

CASL means you can’t send a commercial electronic message (CEM) without obtaining consent from the recipient. A CEM is any message sent electronically that invites the recipient to buy a product or use your services. This applies to emails, text messages, instant messages, and direct messages sent from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you receive a notice that you have broken the rules, the implications can be serious—up to $1 million per violation to the individual offender and up to $10 million to the corporation.

You must have consent before sending a CEM and it can be either implied or express. A recommended best practice is to obtain express consent so that if you receive a notice of violation, you will be able to prove you had consent to send the CEM. You’ll also be required to prove that your CEM complied with the legislation.

Your due diligence is paramount to your success. Check your company’s policy with your compliance officer and soon it’ll be part of your standard practice. If you have more questions about CASL, talk to your company’s compliance officer or visit the government’s FAQ site.

Your opportunity

The need to obtain consent provides a fantastic opportunity to meet with each of your clients. Start with the consent discussion and take it from there. It could be a casual conversation where you catch up on what’s happening in their lives: they’re renovating their house, the kids are almost finished high school, or they’re thinking they’ll have to work longer before they retire. Listen to what they are sharing with you about their lives. These are clues to how you can deepen your relationship with them and help them achieve their financial goals.

Offer to send them one of the Money for Life videos so they can see how they can make the most of what they have right now. Or remind them of what sets you apart by offering them a calculator to determine how much money they’ll need for their child’s education.

Every conversation you have is an opportunity. When you ask clients about their preferred channel for communication (phone call, in person, email, etc.), you’re showing respect for their preferences and time, while demonstrating your integrity.

The bottom line

CASL is here and we all need to observe and comply because it’s the law. But even with perceived restrictions come opportunities to connect and demonstrate the value of your financial advice—Canadians are counting on you to help them achieve lifetime financial security. Build the “ask” for consent into your next meeting, keep copies of consent forms in each client’s file. If you use a client relationship management tool, record the consent there as well. It will make it easier for you to check before implementing your next marketing campaign. Your opportunity starts now.

Rocco Taglioni, Senior Vice-President, Head of Distribution, Individual Insurance and Wealth, is responsible for the overall leadership of Sun Life Financial’s distribution organizations across its Retail business in Canada. His role encompasses the leadership of the distribution company, as President Sun Life Financial Distributors Inc., as well as the Insurance and Wealth wholesaling sales organizations. Through the various leadership teams he oversees the development, direction, and execution of the Distribution strategies centered on wealth management, protection, retirement, and estate and financial planning.

Since joining Sun Life in 2004, Rocco has held various executive leadership roles, including Vice-President Business Development, Group Benefits; Head of Individual Wealth Management; Senior-Vice-President, Client Solutions; and most recently Senior Vice-President, Distribution and Marketing, Individual Insurance and Wealth. Throughout his tenure at Sun Life, Rocco has led various business strategies centered on building, transforming, and evolving organizations and teams to drive higher levels of performance and success.

Rocco has 36 years of experience in strategic leadership in the insurance and investment industries. He has served on and is a member of a number of boards. Rocco is currently President and Chair, Sun Life Financial Distributors (Canada) Inc. and is a member of the Sun Life Financial Investment Services (Canada) Inc. board. He is a member of various industry associations, including Advocis, GAMA Canada, the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute, and the Association of Canadian Pension Management.

Rocco holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from York University.
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