Raising the professional bar for financial advisorsTORONTO, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian investors need better assurances that the financial advisor they are working with is properly qualified to manage their money, says Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada. In the current environment, anybody can set up shop and call themselves a financial advisor, regardless of their training, education or ethics. This puts Canadians at risk every day as they take financial advice from people who may not necessarily be "experts." Advocis is proposing the implementation of a professions model for financial advisors that will tightly regulate the use of the title "financial advisor" and require membership in a recognized professional association. "Too often the headlines are about Canadians being defrauded of their hard-earned money or losing their retirement savings because of the shady actions of someone who calls him or herself a financial advisor," says Greg Pollock, President and Chief Executive Officer of Advocis. "We want to raise the professional bar and protect the wealth of Canadians by ensuring that when they turn to a financial advisor, they are turning to a person they can trust. If that trust is broken, we want Canadians to have a reliable course of action." The model proposed by Advocis would require all financial advisors to meet proficiency standards, regularly update their education and training, and adhere to a code of professional and ethical conduct. For Canadian consumers, it would also provide easy access to review an advisor's credentials and complaints history, and offer an accessible complaints mechanism. "Membership in a professional association for financial advisors will help protect consumers from unscrupulous acts," says Pollock. "It will give Canadians assurances that they are relying on someone with professional credentials and ethics, and if they have doubts about their advisor, they will be able to easily do a background check that will enable them to make informed decisions about the individuals they are entrusting with their money."