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As a financial advisor with my business in your riding, I am writing to share my concerns about proposed regulatory changes in the financial advice industry that would negatively affect both me and my clients.
Right now, my clients have a choice in how they pay for financial advice, including through:
Our industry has made significant changes in an effort to increase fee transparency for our clients, which I fully support. The recent change (CRM2) requires the disclosure of advisor fees to be included in client statements. These enhanced statements ensure that all clients are fully informed on how much they are paying, ultimately positioning them to make educated decisions on how they pay for advice.
The changes being considered by the Canadian Securities Administrators would prevent me from offering embedded commissions as a payment option. The regulators proposing this change believe that removing choice is in my clients’ best interests.
I disagree. Ordinary Canadians would lose access to professional advice and be forced to pay direct costs of $100 to $300 per hour, which are simply unaffordable for many working families in our community. Eliminating the option to pay for financial advice through commissions would limit access to both low and middle-income Canadians and especially young people just starting to invest — the same people who need planning advice more than anyone else. Wealthy Canadians shouldn’t be the only ones with access to professional financial advice. Embedded commissions allow people to receive advice in a way they can afford.
When financial product commissions were removed in the United Kingdom, the results were clear:
Ordinary investors lost access to the market. If the proposed changes to our industry go forward, these same outcomes can be expected here.
This is not in the interests of anyone. Rather than limiting access to financial advice, the focus should be on ensuring all Canadians have access to high-quality financial advice they can trust. The best way to do that is to create a profession for all financial advisors. This will make the industry stronger and protect all investors.
I ask you to make every effort to raise this issue with the minister responsible for the securities regulator as soon as possible to ensure that the public voice is heard.
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