CIFPs pre-releases best practices manual

By Steven Lamb | June 28, 2005 | Last updated on June 28, 2005
3 min read

(June 2005) The Canadian Institute for Financial Planners (CIFPs) has used its national convention to unveil its Financial Planners Practice Guide, a 400-plus page best practices manual aimed at keeping its members in compliance with the standards set out by the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC).

"We’ve tried with this initial version to cover all the material that today’s financial planner needs to be competent, comprehensive and compliant," says Jason Laidler, CFP, at Investors Group in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, and chair of the committee that drew up the manual. "From quick facts to pointing you in the right direction when you need answers to more complicated questions."

The guide includes worksheets, checklists and template letters ranging from client engagement to estate planning. The living benefits chapter even includes definitions for "do not resuscitate" instructions and various level of care.

"I want my client to be making as informed a decision as possible," says Laidler. "This glossary of terminology in the living will itself says exactly what it means to be put onto a respirator, for example. It’s very thorough."

The guide was drawn up by a committee of 10 CIFPs members, with the assistance of four staff members, and took about nine months to compile.

"You are not bound to run your practice with this guide on your desk, but it is there as a guide for you to use when and if you think you can use it," says Laidler. "We do need feedback. This is going to be a living, breathing animal. The guide will be updated on the CIFPs website. Let us know what you think."

Conference attendees received a copy of the manual on CD-ROM in advance of the launch of the guide, which will be available for free, exclusively to CIFPs members through the organization’s website ( Users can print a hard copy for their desk, or simply use it online.

"CIFPs has elected not to print it for you, because it would be prohibitively expensive and not everybody wants that," says Roxanne Eszes, CFP and a technical writer authored the practice guide. "Carswell has one you can purchase and I think its over $400, so in my mind I think ours is more practical, and its included in your membership."

One drawback is that the files are available only in pdf format, and cannot be exported to a Word document or a spreadsheet. Eszes leaves the door open for such functionality in the future, if there is demand for it from members.

Eszes says one of the key differentiations between this manual and others available to advisors, is that it focuses exclusively on "process planning" and offers no tips on increasing sales or practice management.

"Fortunately for us the FPSC just released the latest version of their standards, so we’re completely up to date, unlike any other guide that we know of." Laidler says. "We’re very proud of this — it is worth its weight in gold."


Steven Lamb