Financial advisers need mandatory continuing education, says association

The P.E.I. chapter of the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, Advocis, is lobbying the provincial government to make continuing education for financial advisers mandatory.

Continuing education is required outside of Atlantic Canada, says Advocis

Daniel Martens estimates only about 40 per cent of P.E.I. financial advisers are getting the continuing education. (Submitted by Daniel Martens)

The P.E.I. chapter of the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, Advocis, is lobbying the provincial government to make continuing education for financial advisers mandatory.

Advocis president Daniel Martens said all provinces outside of Atlantic Canada require 20 to 30 hours of education upgrading every year, and records are examined at licensing time.

"They look and they review. They'll do spot audits," said Martens.

"They make sure that advisers are getting their continuing education credits and making sure that they're up to date to make sure that they're giving sound financial advice to their clients."

The courses include subjects such as new taxation rules, changes to the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security guidelines, market conditions as well as industry ethics.

Duty of competency

Certified financial planners and chartered life underwriters are required by law on P.E.I. to get these upgrades each year, as are members of Advocis, but Martens estimates that covers only about 40 per cent of financial planners on P.E.I.

In a written statement, the province said while government does not mandate specific continuing standards or programming, securities and insurance agents are expected to maintain sufficient knowledge and competency to maintain their suitability to be licensed.

It noted licensed securities and insurance individuals have a legislative duty to provide suitable advice for their clients, which includes a corresponding duty of competency.

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With files from Laura Chapin