What is a Fiduciary?


In Canada, there is a legal term called "fiduciary obligation" which describes a relationship where one person (called the "fiduciary") is responsible for taking care of another person's best interests (called the "beneficiary"). This relationship exists when the fiduciary has the power to make decisions that affect the beneficiary, and the beneficiary may be vulnerable to the fiduciary's actions. Basically, the fiduciary has a duty must act honestly and always do what's best for the beneficiary/client. This is the highest standard for care under common law.

While the legal system recognizes various "fiduciary relationships" including relationships like doctor/patient, lawyer/client, and parent/child currently financial planner/client is not one of them. As such financial planners are not obligated to act with a fiduciary level of care and are instead held only to a lower standard of best interest. 

We at the Financial Planning Association of Canada believe that is a gap in the law and an injustice to Canadians. As such it is part of our core mission to work to have Financial Planners elevated and held to the standard of fiduciary. In fact, not content to wait for this change, all Full Members of the Financial Planning Association of Canada have taken a pledge to act as fiduciaries. While this is not a legally enforceable standard any member found to be violating this standard will be permanently banned from future membership. 
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