Ontario Government to Review Oversight of Financial Advisors and Planners

Budget ratifies commitment to increased consumer protection for Ontarians


TORONTO, May 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In today's delivery of the Ontario budget Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that the Ontario government plans to follow through with its review of the oversight of financial advisors and planners in Ontario.

Specifically, Minister Sousa said he plans to assign an expert committee to further investigate the merits of more tailored financial advisor and planner regulation in light of recent consultations with industry stakeholders, including Advocis.

Recognizing the significant role financial advisors and planners play in the financial decisions of Ontarians, the Ontario Government first announced the review in the Minister's Fall Economic Statement last November. Since that time Bill 157, the Financial Advisors Act, 2014, has been introduced by Ontario Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci, and is expected to go to committee within the coming weeks.

"This is a positive development and is consistent with what Advocis has been promoting. It supports Advocis's own initiative to enhance professionalism in the provision of financial advice, and we are pleased the government is making this a priority for 2014," said Advocis president and CEO Greg Pollock. "We would encourage the Ministry of Finance and the expert committee to take a close look at Bill 157, which Advocis strongly supports as it provides an appropriate framework for title and scope protection, and the need to protect consumers from unethical and unqualified advisors."

The Ontario government also announced it is proposing to ban the promotion of insurance by credit unions through the use of their main web sites — a move that will further enhance consumer protection by ensuring Ontarians are protected from the potential abuses of tied selling, privacy violations and unlicensed salespeople. This is consistent with the current restrictions preventing credit unions from selling and marketing unauthorized insurance products at their branches. It is also consistent with the federal rules that prevent banks from selling and marketing insurance through their main bank web sites as these are considered an extension of their branches.

"This is another positive step towards increasing consumer protection and is an issue that Advocis has been engaged in with the Ontario government leading up to the budget. In the current online environment, consumers often don't know with which entity they are interacting and sharing personal information," added Pollock. "We also believe that advice from qualified advisors should be a critical part of the insurance-buying process."

Advocis congratulates the Ontario government on their commitment to these two very important consumer interest issues, and looks forward to working with the Ministry of Finance to help move these issues forward.  

Contact: Kristin Doucet, Advocis

Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, is the association of choice for financial advisors and planners. With more than 11,000 members across the country, Advocis is the definitive voice of the profession, advocating for professionalism and consumer protection. Professional financial advisors and planners are critical to the economy, helping consumers make sound financial decisions that ultimately lead to greater financial stability and independence. Advocis works with decision-makers and the public, stressing the value of financial advice and striving for an environment in which all Canadians have access to the advice they need.