Despite the challenges of the pandemic, annual enforcement numbers in 2020 were similar to those of the previous year, suggests the FP Canada Standards Council in its 2020 report released on Friday.
The council is the division of FP Canada that oversees certification requirements and sets and enforces financial planning standards for certified financial planners (CFPs) and qualified associate financial planners (QAFPs).
There were 66 complaints received in 2020, mostly initiated by the council (48). The top complaint allegations involved diligence (17.2%), integrity (11.5%), forgery/falsification (11.5%), client first (10.7%) and other personal conduct (9.8%).
In the previous year, there were 64 complaints, also mostly initiated by the council (40).
Of the complaints in the latest report, 23 were referred to a conduct review panel; 13, to a disciplinary hearing panel; and 11 disciplinary hearings were held.
In the previous year, 12 disciplinary hearings were held.
Of the disciplinary hearings held in 2020, half resulted in suspension, one-third resulted in temporary bans from reinstatement or renewal of CFP certification, and 17% resulted in letters of reprimand. Suspensions involved cases of unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentation.
In the previous year, suspensions represented only 18% of hearing panel outcomes, while temporary bans accounted for 55%, and letters of reprimand, 27%.
Last year, FP Canada began publishing detailed information on allegations against CFPs and QAFPs and decisions issued by disciplinary hearing panels on its website.
Also on Friday, FP Canada published its annual report for 2020–21, detailing the certification body’s key developments and achievements, including the adoption of the QAFP certification; an update of its definitions, standards and competencies; and the launch of a certificate in human, holistic and honest planning (“3H”).
FP Canada said its current priorities included title protection, the role of technology to enhance advice, 3H skills and raising the profile of financial planning as a profession.