Engages regulators, content, and organizational partners and members in review process
Wednesday, March 3, 2004, Toronto: Advocis™, the largest association of professional financial advisors in Canada, today introduced a Best Practices Manual for review and commentary by regulators, organizational partners, and members. The Best Practices Manual (BPM) is intended to be the gold standard against which professional advisor best practices are measured.
“This BPM is a major milestone for Advocis™ and a significant membership benefit offered by the Association,” commented Advocis™ vice-president, professional development Donna Muirhead. “We have been encouraged by the positive response the manual has garnered from regulators, corporate partners, and Advocis™ members. We expect that this manual will have a significant positive industry-wide effect on raising the bar for professional standards and practice measurement.”
The first comprehensive manual of its kind, the BPM incorporates financial planning and risk management strategies together with client relationship issues for application in the financial planning, asset allocation, and insurance disciplines. It is built upon the foundation of practices standards outlined by the Financial Planning Standards Council and the CLU™ Institute.
Roger McMillan, chair of the Advocis™ best practices committee, notes, “The manual is an industry-leading advisor tool kit that walks advisors through a learning process whereby they become familiar with the standards of best practices. Advisors then come to understand the practical application of those standards in their daily business by using the myriad of examples, checklists, templates, and forms provided.” Mr. McMillan went on to say, “The manual takes a holistic approach to the advisor-client relationship, effectively elevating it from a transaction-focused relationship to one that focuses on the practical process of advice-giving.”
“Much of the manual content is intended to reflect and address, in part, the issues raised in errors and omissions insurance claims, ethical challenges identified by standard setting bodies, legal cases, and conduct hearings across the country,” said Ms. Muirhead. “This is in many ways a response to our membership who has been looking to Advocis™ to develop an operations manual to help guide advisors and facilitate the significant reduction in errors and oversights.”
The BPM, developed in co-operation with several content and organizational partners within the financial services industry including Plan Plus Inc., The Wealth Enhancement Academy, and The Covenant Group, is provided, free of cost, to Advocis™ members and can be purchased by non-members at a cost of $495 plus applicable taxes. Designated advisors also realize significant membership cost reductions in addition to receiving the BPM.
Stakeholder Review and Consultation
The current review copy of the manual is being circulated for discussion and comment among regulators, content providers, and corporate partners. Feedback, suggested changes, and additional modules will be incorporated into the complete copy of the manual expected to be released early in the fourth quarter of this year.
Rick Johnson, director of practice advisory services at Advocis™, confirms, “The manual is intended to be a living document that will be regularly updated to reflect new regulatory and industry leading best practice standards.”
Best Practices Manual as an Educational Tool
Throughout this consultation process, Advocis™ is approaching regulatory and professional accrediting bodies to introduce the BPM and its associating self-assessment checklist to explore the possibilities of its use as a continuing education tool. The self-assessment checklist is a survey of current compliance and advisor competency. Its completion provides the advisor with an advanced understanding of their proficiency – both in respect of their procedures and the management of client relationships.
“We believe that this kind of process, which places a heavier emphasis on practice standards rather than just technical issues, raises the bar on professionalism in financial advising and ultimately leads to increased client satisfaction and better overall advisor management practices,” noted Mr. Johnson.
For further information on the Best Practices Manual, or to view a sample module, please visit the Advocis™ Web site at www.advocis.ca.
Advocis™ is the professional membership association of financial advisors. With 50 chapters across the country, Advocis™ is the largest association of its kind in Canada. Advocis™ members adhere to a strict Code of Professional Conduct, meet ongoing continuing education requirements, and are committed to putting their client interests first. The Association’s Web site is www.advocis.ca.
About the CLU™ Institute
The CLU™ Institute is the professional organization that administers and promotes the Chartered Life Underwriter of Canada designation. CLU™ advisors are experts in advanced life insurance applications and estate planning solutions. More than 3,600 advisors have earned the CLU™ designation. The organization’s Web site is www.cluinstitute.ca.
Advocis™ and the CLU™ Institute are divisions of the Financial Advisors Association of Canada.