The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) wants to restrict the “financial planner” title to people who have completed an advanced certification in financial planning, such as its CFP certification, and who remain accountable to an expert professional body.

In its comment submission for CSA consultation paper 33-404, FPSC suggested the title “representative” could be used for some professionals who haven’t received financial planning proficiencies. Salespeople intending to offer specific products or investment advice related to their products could use the title “mutual funds representative” or “securities representative,” the group suggested in its comments.

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“These mutual funds and securities representatives would not necessarily be proficient or certified to provide financial planning, and therefore would not be permitted to hold out to consumers as such,” FPSC said.

FPSC also recommends that all financial advisor registrants be required to receive a “foundational level of proficiency in financial planning.” Advisors seeking registration to sell mutual funds or securities should receive such proficiency from a designated professional body.

“[T]o ensure consistency across the entire industry and to avoid consumer confusion, the educational requirements and assessment of competence for financial planning proficiency should be separated from the requirements for other licensure, and should be administered and overseen by an expert professional body,” FPSC said.

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The CSA is consulting on proposed new principles and standards for advisors, including titles reforms. It has also controversially proposed that registrants generally “act in the best interests of the client,” placing their client’s interest ahead of their own.

FPSC said it supports the best interest standard but suggested it may have to be applied according to an advisor’s qualifications.

“[R]egistrants who have vastly different proficiencies and qualifications, and who hold out in different manners, could not realistically be held to the same standard,” FPSC said.

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