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) 

The approval by FSRA means 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; and,
  • Associate Portfolio Manager.

With the implementation of the FPTPA, usage of the titles “Financial Advisor” and “Financial Planner” is now 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.  According to CIRO, this professional title protection, which is a first in Ontario, will result in enhanced consumer protection and foster 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.

To help ensure the Financial Professionals Title Protection Framework (the 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 maintains a list of approved credentialing bodies on its website . The regulator plans to launch a registry of credentialed Financial Planners and Advisors in Ontario early in 2024.

For more information, please call Barbara Hendrickson at BAX Securities Law (647) 403-4606.

This publication is not intended to constitute legal advice. No one should act on it or refrain from acting on it without consulting with a lawyer. BAX does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or currency or completeness of the publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission of BAX Securities Law.