A financial expert says he is worried about something he has discovered in the Grande Prairie financial business
Larry Elford from Lethbridge says none of the 60 people he checked who call themselves financial advisors are actually registered under that designation under the Alberta Securities Act. They are actually registered under designations that make them sales people.
He says this means there is no duty to work on a client’s behalf.
“They’re not trying to rip anybody off. They likely don’t even have a copy of their advisor license or their broker license or whatever it is. I never had a copy in 20 years that I worked for the bank. Financial institutions update their registrations of their sales people every year, so most of the people in the front lines don’t even know if they are a fiduciary or an advisor or a dealing rep.”
He adds many people call who call themselves financial advisors, spelled with an “o”, are actually registered as sales people. The true title under the Alberta Securities Act, that comes with a duty to act on a client’s behalf, is financial adviser, spelled with an “e”.
“I’m trying to say that we need a safe financial environment. If one sector does not have to follow the rules or laws and can make them up as they go along, and take advantage of the rest of society, then we start to crumble the foundations of society.”
Elford says people can check who they are dealing with through a web site called www.aretheyregistered.ca
“A search at the web site takes a little bit or work, but you’ll find that 100 per cent (of financial people) that I found in Grande Prairie are registered as a dealer rep., which is equivalent to a sales person at a dealership.”
Besides working for banks for 20 years, Elford has also testified before a parliamentary committee on financial matters.
Myste Kruger of Plan It Financial Corporation sent the following in an e-mail to our newsroom.
“There are many different licenses, registrations and designations that someone working in the financial services industry may hold. The titles and regulatory bodies can also vary, depending on which branch of financial services you work in, whether it be banking, insurance, accounting, etc. As the previous story indicated, your advisor may be registered with the Canadian Securities Administrators, which indicates they have studied and passed an exam qualifying them to be licensed to sell mutual funds. You could say that person is “just a salesperson”, however they may also hold several other licenses and designations.
None of these organizations overlap, so you must ask your advisor what their credentials are. If you want to verify this, you have to search each licensing and regulatory body separately to see if your advisor is listed. If you ever have any concerns, all regulatory bodies have formal complaint channels. The most internationally recognized designation is the CFP (Certified Financial Planner). CFPs help clients define their goals and ensure they have money when they need it most; whether it’s for their children’s education, an emergency, a dream, retirement, an illness or death….there is a strategy in place to provide that “pot” of money. People can check out: www.financialplanningforcanadians.ca for more information.”