When it comes to investing, in general it seems like people can be slotted into one of three camps:
In Canada, there are 18,000 individuals formally qualified to call themselves financial planners and over 120,000 calling themselves financial advisors, financial consultants and investment advisors. And just like any profession there are some great people that work as advisors and some not-so-great people.
Important Note: The vast majority of financial professionals are given (and use) business titles that incorporates the word “Advisor”. You should understand that Advisor is an unregulated title that can be assigned to anyone, but the title Adviser is reserved for those with an actual fiduciary responsibility. What’s the difference? Advisers are required, by government regulators, to always put their client’s interests ahead of their own and those of their firm’s. Not so for Advisors! Advisors can make recommendations that put their and their firm’s interests ahead of yours. So if you see a business title with Advisor in it – think salesperson!
In fact, of the 120,000+ professionals giving advice in Canada, approximately 4,000 are legally allowed to use Adviser in their business title.
Quoting directly from the organization that develops, promotes and enforces professional standards in financial planning through Certified Financial Planner® certification, The Financial Planning Standards Council,
Financial planning is not regulated in most Canadian provinces. This means that anyone can call themselves a “financial planner”. However, not everyone who refers to themselves as a planner is indeed qualified; many so-called financial planners are licensed to sell products but have no financial planning training or expertise.
In the absence of government regulation, consumers must ensure their planner is indeed trained, certified, and held accountable in providing professional financial planning. –FPSC Website.