It’s been a year since we wrote about proposed draft regulations under Saskatchewan’s The Financial Planners and Financial Advisors Act. The title protection framework was initially based primarily on Ontario’s title protection framework, requiring approval for credentialing bodies (CBs) and their financial planner and financial advisor credentials. However, the latest request for comment released by The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) introduces a number of changes in response to comments received on the initial consultation which would de-harmonize the regulations from those that have already been finalized in Ontario.
As part of the credentialing process, both jurisdictions have proposed baseline competency profiles in order for a financial planner (FP) or financial advisor (FA) credential to be approved. The FCAA is considering changing the competency profiles for the financial advisor credential to be closer to that of a financial planner. Originally, the FA credential would have required education relating to products and services provided by the individual, along with education requirements relating to a broad overview of the Canadian financial services marketplace, among other topics. Some commentators, however, felt that the profile was too limited for the FA credential and that it should include proficiency in multiple technical areas and not take a product focused view. The commentators indicated that FAs should take a broad approach to financial advice where the advice would be focused more on specific strategies or approaches and not specific products. The new language would require a broader expertise when providing suitable recommendations to a client and thus would require a financial advisor credential to have educational requirements related to estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, investment planning, finance management and insurance and risk management. As noted in the consultation, the key difference between the competency profiles for an FP and FA would be that:
“an FP will require knowledge and competency in respect of developing and presenting an integrated financial plan for the client; whereas an FA will require knowledge and competency in respect of providing suitable recommendations to a client with respect to broad-based financial and investment strategies.”
A question is also raised as to whether FAs should be required to disclose the product(s) they are authorized to sell (along with their title).
Comments are also being sought on the appropriate transition period. It was originally contemplated that there would be a transition period for people already using one of the titles as of July 3, 2020, which would be four years from the date the regulation comes into force for the financial planner title, and two years for the financial advisor title. Given the proposed changes to the financial advisor credential, the FCAA has asked whether the transition period for FAs should be extended to match those that will be available to FPs (i.e. four years from the date the regulation comes into force). They are also asking whether the date of July 3, 2020 (the cut-off date for when individuals must have already been using one of those titles in order to be able to rely on the transition period) should be moved up to closer to the present date.
Interesting questions have also been posed with respect to the process the FCAA should follow in the event the approval of a CB is revoked, or the operation of a CB otherwise ceases, and how the FCAA should transition credential holders to a CB in good standing.
We suspect the proposed fee schedule will also be the subject of industry comment, as CBs operating in more than one jurisdiction will be required to pay separate fees (some of which can be substantial if there are a large number of credential holders) to each jurisdiction.
Comments on the proposed regulations are due September 20, 2022.
August 17, 2022