By Staff | September 11, 2009 | Last updated on September 11, 2009
3 min read
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In response to the current debate in the U.S. on changes to the investment industry’s fiduciary duty standards, CFA members say they support the creation of a single and higher fiduciary standard of care.

However, the CFA’s members see red flags when attempts are made to water down or define the standard so that it applies to only those brokers who provide investment recommendations.

“If the goals are to provide clarity, consistency and meaningful investor protection, then only one thing will accomplish that: a single rigorous standard that requires prudence, care and loyalty to clients,” says Kurt Schacht, CFA managing director of the CFA Institute Centre for Financial Market Integrity.

Currently, brokers/dealers in the U.S. generally adhere to a lower suitability standard of care, as long as they do not receive compensation for investment advice and, incidentally, give advice only as part of their brokerage services.

Registered investment advisors, on the other hand, fall within a higher fiduciary duty, one that requires them to put their clients’ interests first. The Obama administration has proposed that a “single standard” fiduciary duty apply to all financial advisors, including broker/dealers, investment advisors and other financial planners.

The CFA Institute has a long history of requiring all members and candidates in the CFA Program to adhere to its rigorous and practical Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

“The fundamental tenet of the Code and Standards is that investors’ interests come first,” said John Rogers, CFA Institute president and CEO. “We believe that many of the problems that stemmed from the global market crisis could have been avoided if investment professionals adhered to this tenet and to a higher fiduciary standard.”

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Desjardins launches retirement planning tool

Desjardins Financial Security has created a personalized financial planning tool for members of its group retirement savings plans.

On Target Retirement is a simulator that combines online solutions with more traditional communication tools so that plan members can take stock of their finances and set their retirement goals using customized information based on their own personal situations.

Members will now be able to determine whether they can achieve the targets they have set for themselves and identify any changes that need to be made to their investment strategies.

In other news, Foundation Desjardins, a component of Desjardins Group, has announced the launch of the 2009 edition of its bursary program for 18- to 30-year-olds seeking to improve their employability.

The program now includes 80 bursaries of $750 each, for a total of $60,000.

These bursaries are meant to encourage young people who need a little boost for personal projects such as technical or supplementary training, purchasing educational materials or going back to school.

The call for candidates has begun in Desjardins branches in Quebec and Ontario, local employment centres and professional training centres.

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Wellington West automates account-opening

Wellington West Capital has implemented OpenAdvantage, an automated account-opening platform created by Arius Software.

By automating its account-opening process, Wellington West has eliminated numerous manual labour-intensive processes while significantly increasing visibility across the entire business. With OpenAdvantage, investment advisors can perform same-day account opening efficiently and accurately, monitor applications in real time and meet compliance requirements.

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Queen’s and Ivey School of Business become CFA Partners

This week, the CFA Institute and the Toronto CFA Society join Queen’s School of Business and the Richard Ivey School of Business for official signing ceremonies to celebrate their partnership. Both schools have become CFA Program Partners.

As a CFA Program Partner, the schools’ will offer resources that prepare students to sit for the CFA exams. Students in the partnering programs are entitled to scholarships and access to the CFA Institute curriculum, journals, webcasts and other educational resources. In addition, each student will have access to a specially prepared online Level I sample exam.

(09/11/09) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.