FPAC Speaks Out Against New Credential For Financial Planners

April 4, 2024
As an organization committed to the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and consumer protection, the Financial Planning Association of Canada is calling on regulators to reconsider their decision to approve a recently qualified credential for financial planners in Ontario.

On March 22nd, Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) approved an application by the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning (CIFP) to recognize another qualifying credential for financial planners under titling legislation. The credential — “Chartered Financial Planner” — has raised concerns among planners, industry associations, and consumer advocates, due to its striking name similarity to, and overlap with, the existing credential of “Certified Financial Planner”. The recently resurrected credential was abandoned by the CIFP in 1996.

Julia Chung, President of the Financial Planning Association of Canada, this week joined several leading figures in the industry in issuing a joint statement highlighting the potential for this new designation to create confusion among the public, undermine consumer protection, and open the door to potential abuse. To defend the public interest and consumer protection, the statement calls for FSRA to either direct CIFP to rename the Chartered Financial Planner designation, or to reverse their decision granting CIFP approval of this designation in the first place. Failing that, the statement calls for the Government of Ontario and the Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, to intervene on behalf of consumers and ensure this action is undone.

In issuing this statement, FPAC’s Julia Chung was joined by:

  • Lenore Davis, past chair of the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP);
  • Ken Kivenko, investor advocate and president of Kenmar Associates;
  • Harold Geller of Geller Law, a lawyer and expert in investor protection;
  • Harvey Naglie, a lawyer and financial consumer advocate;
  • Dan Hallett, vice-president, research, and principal at HighView Financial Group.

This group represents an array of leading figures in the field of Canadian financial services, with long-standing expertise in consumer protection and regulatory decision-making. In speaking out, they recognize the full weight of what’s at stake for thousands of consumers who put their trust in financial professionals. Regulators, they acknowledge, play an important role by limiting the number of similar-sounding designations, titles, and credentials that consumers encounter when seeking financial advice, and by making sure they are backed up by meaningful minimum standards.

The “Chartered Financial Planner” designation was abandoned by CIFP in 1996, and has not been in use for over 20 years. It stands to indirectly benefit from the brand recognition of the “Certified Financial Planner” designation, at the expense of consumers who are ill-equipped to understand the differences. In light of this, the signatories of this statement are calling on FSRA to revisit the decision to add this designation to the Title Protection Framework, which was conceived and articulated to protect consumers and defend the public interest.


About the Financial Planning Association of Canada

The Financial Planning Association of Canada, or ‘FPAC’, is an organization representing financial planners all across Canada. Created and led by financial planners, FPAC’s mission is to elevate and uphold the integrity of the financial planning profession, and support planners in providing the highest standards of professional, ethical service to their clients.

View the statement here.

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