A number of financial services organizations have banded together to form the Coalition for Professional Standards for Financial Planners. Essentially, they want to see a standardized set of regulations in place for financial advisors to adhere to if they are to call themselves “financial planners”. Currently, Quebec is the only province that truly requires a recognized financial planning qualification be earned before calling yourself a financial planner, or to say that you offer financial planning services.
I imagine it will be quite some time before anything is enacted that will require all financial advisors who purport to offer financial planning or call themselves financial planners to have earned the proper, recognized credentials. But it’s a step in the right direction, certainly.
Of course, this doesn’t protect you from unscrupulous people. Consider that Earl Jones wasn’t even registered as an advisor, yet he swindled a huge amount of money away from investors. And of course, not all advisors are created equal. A CFP designation is not a rubber stamp for an excellent advisor, but it’s certainly nice to see. Just make sure to check that they actually have a right to use the designation – and you can do so easily by checking out the Financial Planning Standards Council of Canada’s Directory of CFPs in Good Standing.