Top Tips for Choosing a Qualified Financial Planner

In Canada, financial planners go by a number of different names,…

‘financial advisors’ or ‘financial consultants’, to name a few.

This is partly because a lot of Canadian provinces do not actually regulate the title.

Financial planners can vary massively in training, experience and qualifications. Most of them will have taken some form of course or passed an exam and will have a designation that was awarded by an educational institution or a standards body. They may be registered with the regulator for securities and able to sell investments or to provide advice regarding investing. Some have a license that allows them to sell insurance products, or are certified accountants or estate planners.


It would be a smart move to question the qualifications that a planner has before you work with them and understand what those qualifications mean and how stringent they are, as well as to question whether the financial planner actually is a legitimate and reputable business person. In Ontario, you may visit the Ontario Ministry of Finance website or the (FPSC) Financial Planning Standards Council website to learn more on various titles.

Interpreting their Credentials

Because there are so many different designations, it can be hard to understand what they are doing and what training they have. Most designations call for some experience in money management, as well as insurance, estate planning, and investment training. Some may have training in ethics or codes of conduct. Make sure that the planner you decide to work with has the qualifications that apply to the type of work you want them to do.

If a planner is selling investments or offering investment advice, then they will need to be registered with the securities regulator. There are many different categorizations for that. Some planners may only be able to offer advice on mutual funds while other planners can offer advice on a much wider range of products. It is vital that you make sure the services they can offer will meet your personal requirements.

Titles can include Personal Financial Planner, as well as Certified, Registered or Chartered Planners.

Financial Consultants, Chartered Accountants, General Accountants, Mutual Fund Dealers, Insurance Brokers and Investment Dealers.