By Cindy Bowden
I am writing to you this month to alert you to an urgent proposed change in legislation that will affect how you pay for financial advice and services. In a nutshell, the Ontario government wants to eliminate all commissions and trailer fees, and instead force investors to pay a separate fee for service that would be subject to HST.
Frankly, this scares me. This model was tried in the U.K. and almost overnight, 25% of independent investment advisors like me quit, leaving millions of small to medium-sized clients like you with no professional advice. Australia did something similar and is now reversing their decision because it was so bad for people like you. Here in Ontario, it means that I would always have to charge you fees much in the same way that lawyers charge their clients on an hourly basis.
It really comes down to a matter of choice. Currently, you can choose to pay on a fee-for-service basis, or you can choose to have your financial advisor be paid through commissions and trailer fees.
If you’re like most of my clients, I suspect you want to make the choice yourself. That’s why I am asking you to send a message to the government to let them know you oppose this proposal. Your message can really make a big difference. There have been a few times when the government has tried to make unpopular changes that were not in the best interest of consumers – and they backed down as a result of many letters and emails they received!!
I am working with Advocis, the oldest and largest voluntary professional membership association of financial advisors and planners in Canada, to help you keep your choices open and flexible.
All I am asking you to do is go to www.financialadviceforall.com and register by entering your name and email address on the home page. Then click on the ‘Take Action’ tab which will direct your message to your local politician.
And if you have any questions about this proposal or about how it will affect your insurance or financial portfolio, please call me. As always, I am here to help you!