March 25 , 2014

IIROC finalizes guidance on use of business titles, financial designations, improving transparency and supervision

TORONTO--The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) published final guidance regarding the use of business titles and financial designations.

The guidance outlines best practices for member firms to supervise and monitor the use of business titles and financial designations by their individual registrants who deal with retail investors.

In developing this guidance, IIROC considered the results of a member survey conducted among IIROC-regulated firms in 2011 and investor focused research undertaken in 2012.

"With many titles in use, we encourage firms to embrace and implement these best practices. This will improve transparency and increase clarity and understanding on the part of investors about the services registrants are trained to provide and the skills and experience that underlie the title," said Susan Wolburgh Jenah, IIROC's President and Chief Executive Officer.

In addition to best practices, IIROC-regulated advisors must meet and adhere to high levels of proficiency standards and ongoing continuing education requirements.

As a complement to this notice, IIROC launched the Glossary of Financial Certifications – a free, easy-to-use online resource that allows investors to learn more about the credentials that their advisors hold – in 2013. The Glossary features information in one central location about nearly 50 financial certifications commonly used in Canada.

IIROC's guidance makes it clear that firms should have policies and procedures dealing with the use of business titles and financial designations. These policies and procedures should reflect a firm's business model and account offerings. They should also include guidance relating to what business titles and financial designations may be used, as well as any restrictions or prohibitions in this area, including any pre-approval requirements.

The guidance also recommends that particular scrutiny be given to the use of business titles that convey an expertise in seniors' issues or retirement planning to ensure that any individual using such a business title is appropriately qualified and competent in that area.

IIROC is the national self-regulatory organization which oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada. Created in 2008 through the consolidation of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and Market Regulation Services Inc., IIROC sets high quality regulatory and investment industry standards, protects investors and strengthens market integrity while maintaining efficient and competitive capital markets.

IIROC carries out its regulatory responsibilities through setting and enforcing rules regarding the proficiency, business and financial conduct of dealer firms and their registered employees and through setting and enforcing market integrity rules regarding trading activity on Canadian equity marketplaces.



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