Many people are still unaware that all licensed or registered advisors have to complete a certain minimum amount (usually hours or credits) of Continuing Education – called CE Credits – each year in order to continue their licensing or registration. This is very good news for the consumer – or is it?
I wish I could state with absolute certainty that this is good news – but I can’t. One of the challenges of the Canadian System is there is no central body that sets the requirements in terms of hours needed, nor is there consistency on the type of education or training that qualifies. Each Province and Territory sets their own standards and some are well defined while others lack clarity or specifics. Some SROs (self-regulatory organisations) do set standards but again, they are not consistent. Ah that this would change – for everyone’s benefit!
I doubt you will find any advisor or manager that disputes the need for regular updates on products, taxation, international treaties, etc. However some advisors take a more laise-faire approach than others. For example, learning about the technicalities of products is obviously important so that consumers can be assured their advisor is giving them proper recommendations but is that really furthering their “education”? For some regulators the answer is yes while for others the answer is no – so who is right? Ask 20 advisors and you are likely to get 20 differing opinions – not that this would be a real surprise of course.
I have my own feelings, unsurprisingly, and they are rather fundamental to my own belief system – product information is training – it is not education in my opinion – and therefore shouldn’t count for CE purposes, anywhere.
Regardless of that statement, what I do believe very firmly is that consumers have a right to know what regular education their advisor is receiving. Are they current on the advice they are giving or are they 2 or 3 years behind (product training notwithstanding)?
I urge everyone to ask ALL of their advisors at least once every two years to describe the Continuing Education they are taking – you deserve to know!