Ontario’s financial services regulatory authority updates: title protection, agent standards

Authority proposes changes to Financial Professionals Title Protection Rule, Application Guidance

Ontario’s financial services regulatory authority updates: title protection, agent standards
Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario aims to promote financial safety, consumer choice

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario has introduced an update to the proposed title protection framework for financial planners and advisors and has provided information on its efforts to promote high standards for insurance agent conduct.

According to the announcement on May 11, the authority is proposing certain changes to the Financial Professionals Title Protection Rule and Application Guidance, which seek to shorten the transition period for current title users and to obligate approved credentialing bodies to give the authority the necessary information for the maintenance of a public registry.

Other proposed changes aim to expand and to clarify who is impacted by the guidance, to adjust the timeline for communicating the authority’s decision on applications to 60 calendar days from 30 calendar days and to clarify the application process for approved credentialing bodies and for financial planner and financial advisor credentials by stating that terms and conditions relating to approval are noted on the authority’s website and that the authority will use the information provided for a consolidated public registry.

The proposed title protection framework seeks to improve consumer protection in the financial services sectors, to safeguard titles for Ontario-based financial planners and financial advisors, to lay down minimum education standards for using such titles, to encourage these trained professionals to maintain professionalism in their services and to ensure consumer confidence.

The authority also proposed a Supervision Guidance that lays down its approach to monitoring and enforcement under the proposed framework.

These proposed changes are informed by the insights received during the authority’s first public consultation on the title protection framework, which took place from Aug. 13 to Nov. 12, 2020. The authority’s consultation on the proposed revisions will end on June 21.

According to the announcement on May 10, the authority received and reviewed 57 life agent reporting forms from Apr. 1, 2020 to Mar. 31, 2021 and, in 78 per cent of cases, conducted further investigations, issued letters of warning or called for a licence surrender.

The authority also said that it continued investigating open forms from the previous fiscal year and decided to take action on nine of 19 open cases, with six cases subjected to regulatory enforcement proceedings and with three cases closed.

Late last year, the authority established a life and health agent conduct team intending to supervise agents’ conduct and business practices, to review agents subject of a life agent reporting form and to better protect consumers.

These efforts are a part of the authority’s work to advance high standards of conduct among insurance agents and to safeguard the interests of life and health insurance consumers.

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