By Cary List, CA, CPA, CFP
President and CEO, Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC)
Everyone has aspirations. Figuring out how to make them a reality, however, can be difficult. Financial matters are complicated, and with so many competing demands on your money, it can be hard to know where to even begin mapping out a plan for achieving your goals.
A professional financial planner can enable you to take charge of your future by looking at your entire picture and bringing simplicity to complex issues to help you build a concrete plan for achieving your goals.
For more than 20 years, Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) has been helping Canadians get the quality advice they need by setting and enforcing standards for the financial planning profession in Canada and certifying financial planners against rigorous standards of knowledge and competence.
Since financial planning is unregulated in Canada (with the exception of Quebec), anyone can call themselves a financial planner, regardless of their qualifications. Against this murky backdrop, FPSC plays a critical role in helping Canadians understand whom they can trust to help them on the journey to financial health.
Given the increasing complexity of the financial landscape, now, more than ever, Canadians require professional financial planners who are held accountable not only for their technical knowledge and ethical conduct, but who also possess the professional skills to ensure they understand consumers’ unique needs, can communicate their recommendations in an effective manner and can motivate the right actions.
To ensure Canadians are best served by the right professionals well into the future, FPSC is expanding its scope, and as the only true national professional body for financial planning in Canada, will change its name and establish an institute to provide professional financial planning education, tools and supports to help make financial planners even more effective in supporting their clients.
Effective April 1, 2019, FPSC will become FP Canada: dedicated to advancing professional financial planning in the interest of all Canadians.
FP Canada will operate in both official languages for the benefit of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. And with Institut québécois de planification financière as a proud partner, FP Canada will continue to work toward unified financial planning standards regardless of province or language, ensuring a consistent financial planning experience for all Canadians.
FP Canada will also continue to fulfill FPSC’s important role of ensuring the planners it certifies – Certified Financial Planner professionals and Qualified Associate Financial Planner professionals* – continue to meet rigorous requirements of competence, professionalism and ethics on an ongoing basis.
This means when you work with an FP Canada-certified professional, you can take comfort in knowing your planner is accountable to a professional body for meeting a strict code of ethics, rules of conduct and standards of practice, just as doctors, engineers and other professionals are.
Beyond that critical role, FP Canada will help planners develop the skills necessary to meet the ever-changing needs of Canadians – and will help planners keep those skills current. New professional education programs offered by FP Canada’s Institute division will give you confidence that your planner is well versed in not only the technical knowledge that’s central to financial planning, but also in important ethical considerations, psychological and behavioural factors, and other related skills that will help your planner guide you to achieving financial health.
Financial planning has benefits for everyone regardless of age or income bracket. However, some Canadians may feel they don’t have access to someone who can provide professional advice. FP Canada will help bridge that gap.
Whereas CFP professionals are equipped to provide advice at the highest level of complexity required of the profession and represent the highest level of professional knowledge and competence needed to serve all Canadians, FP Canada’s new QAFP designation will be granted to planners specifically looking to serve the everyday financial planning needs of average Canadians.
QAFP professionals must still demonstrate the knowledge, skills, experience and ethics to provide holistic financial planning strategies for their clients, but will focus on Canadians who have less complex financial planning needs. This will enable more Canadians than ever before to access the professional advice they need.
Knowing whom to trust with your hard-earned dollars in an unregulated environment can be difficult. FP Canada has taken the guesswork out of the equation. If you are seeking a planner who has been proven to hold the essential qualifications and who is held accountable through a national professional body, visit FindYourPlanner.ca and begin simplifying your path to living life more confidently.
*Note: effective January 1, 2020, FPSC Level 1 certificants will become Qualified Associate Financial Planner professionals.
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