Article June 3, 2019

Why consult a financial services advisor member of the CSF?

What is  the "CSF"?

Like the latter, its mission is to protect the public by overseeing its member’s practices. The purpose of a professional order is simple: authorities believe that it would be ill-advised for consumers to allow anyone to engage in certain occupations that require specific skills, knowledge and attitudes. These occupations are also referred to as "regulated professions".

Thus, like lawyers, notaries, accountants or doctors, financial services advisors are supervised by an organization that provides guarantees to consumers.

These guarantees are as follows:

  • Advisors supervised by the CSF must hold a licence to practice issued by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) after following specialized education. For this reason, it is essential that consumers verify, before meeting with an advisor for the first time, that the latter is indeed registered with the Autorité.
  • They must respect a code of ethics whose cornerstone is the obligation to put their clients' interests first. For more information, you can consult this page which details advisor’s professional obligations.
  • They must undergo continuing education throughout their careers in order to keep their knowledge up to date and develop their skills.
  • If a consumer considers his or her professional is not doing a proper work or is committing a breach of ethics, they have the ability to file a complaint with the CSF. To learn more about your appeal and the conduct of an investigation, you can visit this section of the CSF website.

But what about "self-regulation", you may ask? The term might seem a little convoluted, but it perfectly reflects the spirit behind it; financial services professionals are fully involved in the supervision of their own profession. Not only can they sit on the CSF's Board of Directors and participate in various working committees to improve practices, but they can also sit on the Disciplinary Committee alongside lawyers specializing in disciplinary law. This is called peer discipline, which is also applied by professional orders.

In summary, the CSF's public protection mission to ensure the professional conduct of its members is based on three pillars:

  • Ethics
  • Mandatory continuing education
  • Peer discipline

A fourth pillar could also be added: the members themselves, who are, in our supervisory system, the key players that ensure public safety.

Asking the right questions

Your advisor and ethics