Mortgage administrators, brokerages, brokers and agents must comply with the advertising requirements under the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 (MBLAA) and its regulations.
These requirements pertain to public relations materials made available to the public in connection with business activities. They include:
- Business Cards
- Email Communication
- Public web pages
- Store Fronts
- Other materials that are published, circulated or broadcast by any means
There are some general requirements that all licensees must observe:
- False, misleading or deceptive information, which is any information that misrepresents or is so incomplete that it misrepresents the product, is prohibited.
- All public relations materials related to mortgage brokering must clearly and prominently display the brokerage’s authorized name and licence number.
- If the public relations materials includes the name of a broker or agent, the licensed name of the broker or agent and an approved title must be used.
- A brokerage must carry on business using only its licensed name.
- A broker or agent must deal or trade in mortgages using only their licensed name.
- Brokerages, brokers or agents may provide a link to their licence on the FSRA website to allow verification that the individual or entity is licensed.
Note: If your existing promotional material references FSCO, please endeavor to change the reference to FSRA. Effective June 2019, FSRA assumed the regulatory functions of FSCO.
Agents and brokers
Agents and brokers must include 4 items in every public relations material,
- The agent or broker’s licensed name,
- The agent or broker’s approved title,
- The authorized name of their sponsoring brokerage, and
- The licence number of their sponsoring brokerage.
Agents and brokers may also include their individual licence number in advertising, but there is no requirement to do so.
What is an approved title?
Under the requirements of the MBLAA, and according to the licence you hold, mortgage agents and brokers must include a reference to at least one of the following titles:
When referring to a broker,
- Mortgage broker,
- Courtier en hypotheques, or
When referring to an agent,
- Mortgage agent,
- Agent, or
- Agent en hypotheques
The MBLAA does not prohibit the use of other or secondary titles or credentials, provided that the approved title based on your licence has been used at least once.
Approval of public relations materials
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) does not preapprove public relations materials.
A broker or agent who is authorized by a brokerage to develop their own public relations and advertising materials should submit those materials to their brokerage for review and approval before releasing them to the public. Check your brokerage’s policies and procedures manual or consult your Principal Broker to confirm your brokerage’s advertising/public relations materials approval process.
Operating a franchise office
You may advertise in the name of your franchise name if that is the licensed name of your brokerage. Your public relations materials must also clearly and prominently indicate that your office is independently owned and operated.
You cannot advertise under your “team” name if you lead a team of mortgage agents. Advertising must be in the name of a licensed brokerage. To advertise under a team name would require that the team be licensed as a brokerage.
Website and email address requirements
There is no requirement for a licensee’s website domain name and email address to be in the name in which they are licensed. However, the website and all mortgage-related communications must clearly and prominently disclose the administrator’s or brokerage’s authorized name and licence number. If naming a specific agent or broker, the website must include the licensed name and authorized title of the individual.
Email signatures for all mortgage-related communications must clearly disclose the authorized name and licence number of the administrator or brokerage, and the licensed name and authorized title of the individual sending the email.