FSRA approves another credential for FP title use

By Michelle Schriver | March 22, 2024 | Last updated on March 26, 2024
3 min read
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The financial services regulator in Ontario has approved another credential under the province’s title protection rules. The Chartered Financial Planner designation, overseen by the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning (CIFP) has been approved for “financial planner” title use, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) said in a release on Friday.

With the addition of the designation, there are now six approved credentials for “financial planner.” (See table below.) There are also eight approved credentials for using the title “financial advisor.”

The Chartered Financial Planner isn’t new, said Keith Costello, president and CEO of the CIFP, but the CIFP wasn’t offering the designation to new candidates as it focused on providing education for FP Canada’s designations.

Last year, FP Canada began offering all education for its designations in-house (though national education providers, including the CIFP, can still provide the technical education for the designations). At that time, Costello had forecast that FP Canada’s decision, along with Ontario’s multiple-credential regime, would result in the creation of more designations.

With the title protection framework, “we decided to bring [the Chartered Financial Planning designation] back, because we were getting lots of requests from various clients,” Costello said.

The Certified Financial Planner designation that FP Canada oversees has a trademarked acronym. The CIFP states on its website that the Chartered Financial Planner designation won’t have an acronym: “Our aim is to re-establish and emphasize the full significance of the Chartered Financial Planner title, ensuring it stands out as a hallmark of excellence and professionalism in the industry.”

While the CIFP’s Registered Retirement Consultant designation — previously approved by FSRA — focuses on retirement planning, the Chartered Financial Planner focuses on all disciplines of financial planning, Costello said, and the designation distinguishes itself through its content, learning methodology and training resources.

He also noted that the CIFP offers designations to other sectors such as insurance and banking: “We are broad-based.”

One concern with FSRA’s approval of multiple credentials has been that industry professionals may choose to pursue the cheapest credential, and that the regime’s complexity adds to consumer confusion.

In a release announcing the approval of the Chartered Financial Planner, FSRA appealed to consumer choice.

“By approving another credential, we are providing individuals and families with more choice when seeking the assistance of a qualified financial professional,” said Huston Loke, executive vice-president of market conduct with FSRA, in a release.

Costello said he was pleased that advisors may choose among several credentials, and that the investing public therefore also may choose from various professionals “to get the help they need.”

Financial planner credentials by the numbers

FSRA-approved credential for FP titleNumber of credentials in FSRA’s registry
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)11,655 (67.8%* of credential holders)
Personal Financial Planner (PFP)3,513
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)1,498
Registered Retirement Consultant (RRC)1,434
Qualified Associate Financial Planner (QAFP)784
Chartered Financial PlannerNot yet in registry
Total FP credentials18,884
Total FP credential holders17,180 (Some planners have more than one credential)
Source: FSRA registry on March 22, 2024

Note: Those who used the “financial planner” title on or before Jan. 1, 2020, and who don’t have an approved credential, can still use the title during the transition period, which ends in two more years.

*This figure, originally rendered as 61.8%, has been updated.

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Michelle Schriver

Michelle is Advisor.ca’s managing editor. She has worked with the team since 2015 and been recognized by the National Magazine Awards and SABEW for her reporting. Email her at michelle@newcom.ca.