Resistance has been the common theme from industry players in their response to the proposed title reform legislation that is working its way through the new Financial Services Authority of Ontario (FSRA) regulator. This important regulation to ensure that only financial professionals with appropriate credentials be able to call themselves “financial planners” or “financial advisors” will ensure that consumers are better served and protected.

If this self-centred push is successful, it will only benefit the least-qualified providers of financial services and be another setback for professionalization and transparency in the investment industry. Currently, financial professional’s titles (outside of Quebec) are meaningless and do nothing to inform consumers of financial services as to what the financial professional they deal with actually does. Possibly, these titles could mislead consumers into expecting a level of service and credibility that may be completely unwarranted.

Some of the industry submissions received are arguing that the rules are planning to set the bar too high and would exclude people who are using either title now from continuing to do so without achieving further designations or credentials. As well, the MFDA and IIROC organizations who are having their submission provided by the Investment Association of Canada (IIAC) who is arguing that any financial professional regulated by these two bodies should be exempt from any further educational requirements. The main issue with these arguments, is that most of the education provided to the financial services industry is focused around the licensing to sell products. However, financial planning and advice are not solely focused on products and in fact may result in no product sales at all. Financial planners and financial advisors synthesize information to make well-educated, informed recommendations; product selection and sales are only a small portion of the total value proposition provided.

Keeping the status quo, will simply be validating that the financial services industry is sufficient to meet consumers needs in today’s increasing complex economic environment. It could be argued that it would prove that this entire exercise was failed from the beginning due to regulatory capture by the industry.

Many people already are wary of financial services, and their ability to meet their specific needs and goals. Helping title reform fail will simply provide one more reason for people (especially Millennials and Gen Z) to move away from traditional financial provides altogether.


“The incentives offered by CPP/QPP – combined with the strength of these programs – have made delaying CPP/QPP benefits for as long as possible is the safest, most inexpensive approach to get secure, worry-free retirement income that lasts for life and keeps up with inflation.” – Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald

Today, the National Institute of Ageing (NIA) released the Get the Most from the Canada (CPP) & Quebec (QPP) Pension Plans by Delaying Benefits research paper, which has outlined the significant benefits of delaying pension benefits until age 70.

The paper has shown that Canadians can significantly increase their income security in retirement by delaying their CPP/QPP benefits; however only 1% of Canadian currently delay CPP/QPP pension until 70. For example, a monthly benefit of $1,000 at at 60, if delayed grows to $2,218.75 by age 70. It is clear that with fewer resources to build up retirement savings in today’s low interest rate environment, one of the best ways to maximize retirement income is to delay CPP/QPP benefits.

As CFPs and QAFPs, when meeting with clients over the next couple of months for year-end client discussions, this research and the accompanying examples should help your clients better understand both the options for starting CPP/QPP and the significant benefits to their retirement income of delaying to age 70.

Source: FP Canada Research Foundation


A recent study from Investment Planning Council (IPC) found that almost 75% of Canadians believe they need financial planning advice to be successful in the future. The appreciation for planners is on the rise amid the uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are individuals leaning more on their planners, but they believe the fees they are paying are worth it.

Some of the survey’s findings included:

  • Participants said they have increased their communication with their planners since the pandemic started.
  • 93% said it was important to work with an advisor who is familiar with their personal needs
  • 75% who work with an advisor were prepared for retirement

 Chris Reynolds, the CEO of IPC noted in the report that “people want someone who knows them, their family, their unique situation and what they want to accomplish”. It is clear that “this cannot be solved by a robo-advisor or some algorithm”.

Other reports are showing similar findings, where the willingness to pay for advice has been growing and the desire of individuals to increase the amount of planning advice they are receiving.

Encouraged by the positive sentiment, planners are taking advantage to develop and deepen long-term, trusted relationships with clients that prove their worth, especially when compared to robo-advisors and other DIY investing options. Planners should look for opportunities to expand the role of truly comprehensive financial advice relationships. Planners have never been more valuable than in the midst of COVID-19, and individuals are realizing that value goes beyond simply selecting and managing investments.

 Whether it’s the technology crash of the early 2000’s or the 2008 global financial crisis, markets at times can get very volatile as they did this year with COVID. Even though the event is different, the markets reaction isn’t, and this is where a planner can offer tremendous value.


Last month, FP Canada released its Annual Report for 2019 and 2020.


  • Progress on the policy front with the new Financial Professionals Title Protection Act passed into law in Ontario.
  • Launch of the Qualified Associate Financial Planner certification on Jan 1, 2020. There are already 4,300 QAFP professional in Canada.
  • 50% increase in the number of candidates sitting for both the QAFP and CFP exams. Exam numbers have now increased for five consecutive years with the biggest growth occurring in 2019.
  • Beginning April 1, 2022 new applicants for CFP certification must hold a post-secondary degree from an accredited college or university.


  • 16,948 CFP professionals, with 949 new certifications
  • 3,985 QAFP professionals, with 2,623 new certifications

New Programs

  • Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE)
    • Prepares candidates for an understanding of the ethical obligations owed by all professionals and the application of these obligations to the financial planning practice
    • It is an online program that takes about 2 hours to complete
  • CFP Professional Education Program
    • Helps students succeed in the new world of technology change by helping them apply their technical knowledge to real world client situations.
    • Program covers the principles of human behaviour and professional skills in the areas of communications, critical thinking, relationships and ethics.
    • It is an online program with a live instructor and equivalent to a full semester university course.



This month, the Ontario government continues to move forward with new standards for people using the financial planner and financial advisor titles in the province. The key takeaway from the latest report from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is that those individuals currently using either title will not be “grandfathered” from the new rules that establish the minimum standards for their use.

Canada currently does not have any legislated national standard for those who offer financial planning or advice, thus anyone can call themselves a financial planner or advisor regardless of their designation, certification or educational background.

Last year, the Financial Professionals Title Protection Act was passed in Ontario to enhance oversight of qualifications and credential being used in the financial services sector. The government appointed FSRA to develop the specific rules and decide which designations would qualify. This rule is expected to be finalized by 2021.

Minimum standards will not require a credential that has an educational component related to financial planning, such as retirement planning, estate and tax planning, technical knowledge and ethics. FSRA’s recent report advised that individuals will have three years after rule implementation to acquire any credential or educational requirement needed to use the title of financial advisor; and five years for the “financial planner” designation. The complete list of designations that will be approved under the rule is still being finalized.

One of the most widely known credentials is the certified financial planner (CFP) designation administered by the professional body FP Canada (formerly the Financial Planning Standards Council). More than 16,900 people in Canada hold it, about 9,000 of them in Ontario. FP Canada believes that their designations will be approved under the new FSRA rule and will help to remove confusion around the use of these titles, especially the distinction between advisor and planner.

As the regulatory momentum continues to move in the direction of minimum standards, it is all the more important for new and existing practitioners in financial services to begin getting their QAFP and CFP designations.


FP Canada announces a new exam cycle:

In 2021, FP Canada’s exam cycle will change to be held in May and October. And in 2022, they will transition towards three dates in January, May and October. This is to provide additional space and more flexibility as more individuals pursue their CFP and QAFP certifications.