This month, you have a chance to speak up on an issue that is close to our hearts, and affects all Canadians—better protections for those seeking financial planning.

The need for unbiased financial planning advice has never been stronger. But in Canada (except for Quebec), anyone can call themselves a financial planner, leaving Canadians confused and at risk—in fact, half of Canadians think financial planners are regulated. We’re not.

While many of us have voluntarily undertaken rigorous education and stepped up to certification, some people who call themselves financial planners don’t have the skills or qualifications to provide financial planning and aren’t accountable to any oversight body or subject to government regulations. There are no laws to stop them.

Help protect yourself by ensuring you are dealing with an appropriately qualified financial planner. Ask about the financial planner’s credentials and designations and confirm the individual is a member in good standing with their professional membership body. For example, the Financial Planning Standards Council is the non-profit organization overseeing Certified Financial Planners (CFP) and the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners is the is the oversight body for Registered Financial Planners (R.F.P.).

We should all exercise due diligence before hiring a professional, but we also expect there to be certain protections in place. If you agree, for the month of October, Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) is offering Canadians the chance to raise their voice about this gap in consumer protection. You can help influence change by adding your voice to the growing call for reform through participation in a short opinion poll (open until October 31).

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