In order to advise clients on investments you must be registered with the Securities Commission in the province in which your clients reside, but not all registration categories are equal. Furthermore, the qualifications you need vary greatly.
When most people think of a financial advisor, they think of the large bank owned brokerages, like RBC Dominion or BMO Nesbitt Burns. These firms are members of IIROC, a self-regulatory organization ceded certain powers by the provincial Commissions to make rules and oversee their members. The vast majority (97%) of these financial advisors are called Registered Representatives (RR) and are not able to manage client portfolios on a discretionary basis; they must discuss each investment recommendation with a client and receive client approval before effecting a transaction. The reason for this is because the regulatory threshold to become an RR is significantly lower than what it takes to qualify as an Advising Representative with a firm like a High Rock. RRs must complete the Canadian Securities Course and the Conduct and Practices Handbook Course, as well as the Registrant Code of Ethics and the Registrant Standards of Conduct and complete a 90-day training program. RRs are also usually limited to selling specific investments which have been pre-approved by the firm and do not typically perform their own in-depth research and analysis.
In contrast, a firm like High Rock is registered and directly overseen by the Ontario Securities Commission, the provincial regulator (as well as the provincial regulators in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan). Advising Representatives (ARs) at High Rock have the authority to manage client portfolios on a discretionary basis because they have the necessary experience and course qualifications to do so. To become an AR, you need have achieved the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and have 12 months of experience conducting Research & Analysis and applying it to portfolio selection or have achieved the Certified Investment Manager (CIM) designation and have completed 48 months of experience conducting Research & Analysis and applying it to portfolio selection. In comparing these designations and the experience requirements to the courses required to become an RR, it would not be an exaggeration to say one is like completing an MBA and the other is slightly beyond completing high school. Earning the CFA Charter is the gold standard in the industry. It consists of three levels and each level typically has a failure rate of over 50%. Paul has obtained his CFA Charter and registered as an AR and Scott holds the CIM designation and is registered as an Associate AR.
When looking for an advisor, education and experience are paramount and that is what a Portfolio Manager, like High Rock offers you. It is worth noting that Paul holds his CFA Charter and Scott holds the CIM designation..