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Advocis launches members-only directory

This article was originally published November 7th, 2013 at WealthProfessional.ca  To see the article online click HERE.

by  Sophie Nicholls |  07 Nov 2013 |Wealthprofessional.ca

A new online financial advisor’s directory could help put your business on the map, but only if you’re a member of Advocis.

“It’s something we do for our members provided they are meeting the membership standards,” says Kathy Kaskiw, Advocis’ vice president of education and member services. “It’s part of the value of being a member of Advocis.”

Launched Wednesday in recognition of Financial Literacy Month, the 'Find an Advisor' website enables consumers to search and find a financial advisor in minutes.

Users can search by province, city, postal code, advisor’s last name, company name, method of compensation and language serviced. More specific criteria such as independent financial needs, individual liability protection and financial designation can hone a search to provide a list of advisors specific to the consumer’s needs.

“It’s an excellent way for the consumer to find a professional financial advisor in their community. It gives them choice,” Kaskiw explains. “It will get the consumer to start thinking about their financial goals and needs.”

In addition to the directory, the website includes information on relevant topics including retirement planning, tax and estate planning and insurance planning. Resources including a video series on what to look for when choosing an advisor, and an interview guide to help prepare the consumer for the selection process. “All financial planning organizations are full of improving knowledge and standards of their members, so they can do a better job for consumers,” says David Christianson, senior advisor at Christianson Wealth Advisors, National Bank Financial. “Consumer education and services like this new directory are all positive steps.”

Some advisors aren’t convinced the directory will serve much purpose at all, nor of Advocis' altruistic motives.

“Online Internet directories are just gimmicks. Anyone with enough money and time can end up first in Google, which is where people go first,” says Kevin Cahill, certified financial planner with Canadian Legacy Builder in Guelph. “I feel Advocis is investing money to talk about how great of a job they are doing, instead of ensuring that everyone is actually doing a good job.”

Cahill also feels members-only directory is discriminatory against other fully-qualified professionals who aren't Advocis members, and that, subsequently, the directory fails to provide consumers with the best selection of financial advisors on the market. 

“You can be fresh in the industry with no education and pay a reduced rate and belong to Advocis and appear on the website,” says Cahill. “Just because this person belongs to a national association means little in the bigger picture of professionalism. To be a professional, you need to be very educated, tested practically on that education and adhere to a code of ethics in a national organization.”

According to Advocis, it has 11,000 members, however those who do not provide direct financial advice will opt out of joining the directory. Check out the Find an Advisor directory at Ouradvisor.ca.