Given that our theme for this quarter is compliance and regulation, it’s timely that I have the chance to talk about two regulatory changes. Both are welcome changes that will improve our industry for the better.
The first is that FP Canada has backed off on its degree requirement. You might be aware that, previously, FP Canada had announced that for 2024 and later, it would only be possible to obtain CFP® certification for somebody carrying a university degree. For those with degrees from institutions outside Canada, this was more complex, requiring a somewhat cumbersome equivalency assessment.
The two changes announced by FP Canada in July of 2022 will make it easier for people to qualify to obtain CFP® certification. The first is that foreign degrees will be more easily recognized. The second is that practitioners with 10 or more years of relevant experience will not require a university degree. (As of the time of this writing, there is no equivalent policy for QAFP™. Pursuing QAFP™ certification will still require a post-secondary diploma.)
These changes are complementary to FP Canada’s Imagine 2030, the framework for its strategic plan in the current decade. Imagine 2030 places a strong emphasis on all Canadians being able to obtain financial planning advice. These two changes will make it easier for new Canadians and Canadians in remote areas to obtain certification, which will expand access. Credit to FP Canada for creating a policy cohesive with its strategic plan.
The second set of changes impacts those who are residents of British Columbia and who carry a life insurance (or A&S) license in that province. I will remind our readers here that if you are resident in another province that has a CE regime (QC, ON, MB, SK, or AB) and licensed in BC, you don’t have to worry about BC CE requirements.
The Insurance Council of BC is introducing a CE regime similar to what FP Canada is currently doing. Under the new rules, CE providers (including BCC, hopefully) will be able to get courses pre-approved. This will give our attendees certainty that the course they are attending will meet their CE requirements. Without pre-approval, the agent can still use the training to qualify, but takes the risk that the Insurance Council may not accept that a course is valid. The cost for participating in this regime is nominal, so course costs should not increase by any meaningful amount.
I am a big fan of this change, as it is much better to be able to say, “This course will qualify for 1 Life Insurance credit in BC” rather than, “This course should qualify…”.
In general, we would support any insurance regulator implementing such a system. As it stands today, AB, MB, and QC have strict CE compliance regimes. SK only has a pre-approval requirement for its ethics courses, and ON has no CE pre-approval.
Ontario is working from a 1997 rule, implemented when there was still an Insurance Council in Ontario. I would not be at all surprised to see FSRAO introduce an updated CE regime in the near future. And of course, for insurance agents across
Atlantic Canada, there is no CE regime at all.
I hope you also see these changes as welcome. I would love to hear from you as to why I might be wrong! Also, check out our July and August podcast schedule for two great compliance-oriented interviews, one with Bill Donegan, formerly of Manulife Securities, and the other with Damienne Lebrun-Reid at FP Canada.