This article appears in the March 2020 issue of Advisor’s Edge magazine. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.
What industry change would you like to see?
Class of 2020
2019 co-winner of the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners’ (IAFP) annual student financial planning competition; business administration student majoring in financial services at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary
Consumers typically don’t know what financial planning is and can’t differentiate among titles and credentials, so they’re vulnerable to misplacing their trust, which can lead to abuse. Financial planning as a recognized profession would increase transparency, so consumers could make informed decisions about the services they choose.
My IAFP submission advocated for financial planning as a standardized profession supported by a recognized and robust designation, with education, training and experience requirements. There should be no discrepancies among planners when it comes to their body of knowledge. Further, financial planning should put clients’ interests first, centre around the creation of a comprehensive plan, and be established as part of a professional network, similar to the Canadian Medical Association.
That financial planning isn’t yet officially a profession doesn’t influence my decision to pursue this career — changes like title regulation indicate that professionalization is happening.
What’s the most important change you’ve seen during your career?
Over 40 years
in the industry
financial planner, Angus Watt Advisory Group at National Bank Financial, Edmonton
I’ve seen financial planning transform from a job to a profession, allowing planners to make a difference in people’s lives.
Salespeople traditionally did some planning, but they typically had little formal planning education. Now, financial planning has its own body of knowledge, rigorous education requirements and a code of ethics, which includes placing the client’s interest first — things I helped develop as an FP Canada board member from 2010 to 2017.
When I was board chair, we developed strategic education initiatives for planners at the new FP Canada Institute, providing our own training for ethics, behavioural finance and the integration of financial planning knowledge into one’s practice. Starting this year, these educational programs are mandatory for certified financial planners.
During my time as board chair, I also consulted with several provinces on title protection based on educational requirements and ethics — a regulatory effort that will further professionalize financial planning.