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Dec 2019 Newsletter: Financial Planning Week 2019

As in 2018, Business Career College was the Platinum Sponsor for FP Canada’s Financial Planning Week 2019 activities. This is our fourth year sponsoring Financial Planning Week activities; we have sponsored the Ethics Breakfast in the past as well.

This major event had 3 distinct components this year:

  • The Celebration of the Profession dinner on the evening of Tuesday, November 19th. The headline speakers were Rod Phillips, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, and Caroline Ouellette, who won four gold medals playing Olympic hockey for Team Canada. Caroline’s story was wonderful and covered several major phases of an athlete’s career. Anybody could learn lessons about resilience and adapting from her. Minister Phillips’ talk was a fairly subdued overview of the current Government’s fiscal plan. He briefly discussed title protection but made no announcements. The highlight for me was watching two of our Exam Prep students get recognized for placing in the top 3 of sittings of the CFP Exam held over the past year, earning them a spot on the prestigious President’s List.
  • The morning of Wednesday the 20th took us to the Ethics Breakfast in Toronto. Damienne Lebrun-Reid, Executive Director of FP Canada Standards Council, used two very true-to-life scenarios to highlight key concerns around conflicts of interest. She was joined by lawyers from the Ontario Securities Commission, the Mutual Funds Dealers Association, and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. All four were frank in their comments and recognized the challenges that financial planners can face in real-life complex scenarios. Most interesting for me was the recognition by regulators that a married couple may not be best served in all cases by a joint planning engagement. Those who have attended our own “Addressing Conflicts of Interest” course in the past have been exposed to this idea. I was also happy to see conflicts of interest from non-compensation-based sources as a major theme. This event was repeated on Friday the 22nd in Vancouver, with a lawyer from the BC Securities Commission rather than from the OSC.
  • The daytime of Wednesday the 20th was the main event, with the Financial Planning Symposium taking place. As usual, FP Canada put on a great slate of speakers, with a recurring theme throughout. The message that I think most participants took away was that a financial planner must be great at discovery, and this entails having robust communication skills. All four speakers talked about the value of listening, with keynote speaker Celeste Headlee rounding out the session. We had two behavioural finance speakers on the agenda. Unlike the typical behavioural finance talk, both were able to give actionable, executable, challenging items for financial planners to think through. This event was also repeated in Vancouver on Friday the 22nd.

I always enjoy Financial Planning Week. I find it reassuring to see some 700 people who are committed to financial planning as a profession get together to learn. The slate of speakers is always interesting, and not typical of other industry events. If you’re interested in attending next year’s events, which will be November 18th in Toronto and November 20th in Vancouver, please reach out to us. We would love to see you there!

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