Enhancing investor protection in Ontario
Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization approved for Financial Advisor title use
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has approved the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) as a credentialing body under Ontario's Financial Professionals Title Protection Act, 2019 (FPTPA). CIRO now has the authority to grant credentials that permit individuals to use the Financial Advisor title in Ontario.
The categories of individuals approved by CIRO, that may use the Financial Advisor title are:
- Registered Representative
- Mutual Fund Dealing Representative
- Portfolio Manager
- Associate Portfolio Manager
With the implementation of the FPTPA, usage of the titles “Financial Advisor” and “Financial Planner” is restricted to professionals who meet or exceed minimum proficiency and continuing education thresholds and who are subject to a code of conduct that requires that they put the interests of clients first. This title protection is a first in Ontario.
“By approving CIRO as a credentialing body, tens of thousands more investment professionals will be able to use the Financial Advisor title. Officially being recognized as a Financial Advisor will further the value of CIRO members and the recognition of their education and expertise,” said Huston Loke, Executive Vice President, Market Conduct at FSRA. “This arrangement leverages CIRO’s demonstrated, robust complaint handling and disciplinary framework, which enhances consumer protection and fosters a more sustainable, competitive financial services sector.”
CIRO, which launched in January 2023, is a consolidation of the former Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the former Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA), with a mandate to protect investors and support healthy Canadian capital markets. Becoming a credentialing body under FSRA's title protection framework will support this focus on enhanced investor protection.
FSRA-approved credentialing bodies are responsible for overseeing the conduct of their Financial Planner and Financial Advisor credential holders and enforcing compliance with minimum requirements. Credentialing bodies must have robust supervision processes and a code of conduct.
“Accreditation through CIRO will give investors confidence that they are dealing with highly qualified Financial Advisors,” said Andrew Kriegler, President and CEO, CIRO. “Receiving accreditation through CIRO will allow financial services professionals in Ontario to use the Financial Advisor title, while avoiding any duplication of regulatory requirements or cost.”
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), in coordination with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), oversees and recognizes CIRO as the self-regulatory organization that regulates, among other things, individuals working as mutual fund or investment dealers that provide investment advice to Ontario consumers. As such, FSRA, the OSC and CIRO worked together to ensure that CIRO’s participation as a credentialing body under the title protection framework would not result in regulatory duplication.
To help ensure the Financial Professionals Title Protection Framework is working as it should, FSRA has committed to reviewing the framework by the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2024). This review will evaluate the framework’s effectiveness in achieving expected outcomes and assess opportunities for improvement, including consultation with key stakeholders as necessary. As part of this review, FSRA will look at the proficiency standards for the Financial Planner and Financial Advisor titles to ensure they remain relevant and aligned with what consumers expect from title users. The review will also include an evaluation of credentialing body policies and processes, including complaint handling and disciplinary practices.
FSRA continues to maintain a list of approved credentialing bodies on its website to assist title users and consumers in identifying credentials that enable the use of the Financial Planner and Financial Advisor titles. FSRA is planning to launch a registry of credentialed Financial Planners and Advisors in Ontario early in 2024.
To find out more about FSRA’s title protection framework, including transition periods, please visit FSRA’s Financial Planners and Financial Advisors Industry page.
FSRA continues to work on behalf of all stakeholders, including consumers, to ensure financial safety, fairness, and choice for everyone.
Learn more at www.fsrao.ca.