Many issues are the result of miscommunication between parties. The first step in any complaint process should be to speak with your CFP® professional or FPSC Level 1® Certificant in Financial Planning for clarification and possible resolution.

Only submissions expressing concerns about individuals who hold Certified Financial Planner® certification or FPSC Level 1 Certification in Financial Planning are accepted by FPSC.


Complaint Process

Filing a Complaint

To express your concern about the actions of a CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant and/or formally lodge a complaint with FPSC, please fill out the Complaint Form.

If you require additional information or would like to discuss your situation before submitting a complaint, please contact Standards and Enforcement. Please note that complaints must be submitted in the Complaint Form before they will be reviewed.

Confidentiality

With the exception of the disclosure of the complaint to the CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant (see below), all complaints are confidential.

Timing

FPSC will confirm receipt of your complaint and contact you if any additional information is required to assist the investigation. As every situation is different, the time required to reach a decision will vary from case to case. However, all efforts will be made to deal with your complaint as quickly as possible.

Complaints must be filed within six years of the date you knew (or ought to have known) of the events about which you are complaining. Please be aware that it is important to act quickly and to respond promptly to any requests for more information regarding your complaint. If you wait too long, FPSC may not be able to proceed with the complaint as the evidence required to investigate your complaint may no longer be available or reliable. The sooner you make your complaint, the more likely it is that relevant documents still exist, witnesses can be more easily located, memories have not faded and evidence is not missing. 

Anonymous Complaints

Although FPSC accepts anonymous complaints, it is strongly suggested that you identify yourself in the complaint. A reluctance to participate in the process frequently results in FPSC not being able to conduct a full and fair investigation, which often means the complaint must be dismissed. 

Please note that while FPSC will do its best to keep your name confidential should you wish to remain anonymous, your identity may nevertheless become evident when a CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant is provided with the details of the case against him or her. 


Investigation Process

Initial Assessment

All complaints are subject to an initial assessment to determine if there is a potential violation of the Standards of Professional Responsibility. During this assessment, we may contact the complainant for further information or clarification. 

If it is determined that no breach of the Standards of Professional Responsibility has occurred or that a case could not possibly be made, the complainant will be informed and the file will be closed. 

Investigations

If it is determined that there are sufficient grounds to launch an investigation, the CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant who is the subject of the complaint is notified of the complaint and relevant details (typically a copy of the complaint is sent) and given 30 days to respond. Failure to respond within 30 days may result in administrative suspension. 

Once the CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant’s response and supporting documentation is received and reviewed, a determination is made as to whether there remains sufficient evidence of a breach of the Standards of Professional Responsibility.

If it is determined that there has not been a breach of the Standards of Professional Responsibility,both the CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant and the complainant will be informed in writing that the complaint has been dismissed.

If it is determined that a possible breach of the Standards of Professional Responsibility exists, both parties will be informed and the complaint will be referred to a disciplinary Hearing Panel.

Disciplinary Hearings

Hearings are conducted by an independent disciplinary Hearing Panel. Disciplinary Hearing Panels are composed of one member of the FPSC Enforcement Policy Committee (who shall be the Chair) and two volunteer CFP professionals or FPSC Level 1 certificants. The complainant is not required to attend the hearing.

Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to, a permanent revocation or temporary suspension of the right to use the CFP Marks, a requirement to complete remedial education or a Letter of Admonishment.

FPSC publishes Reports on Disciplinary Actions on this website.

The Disciplinary Rules and Procedures

The Disciplinary Rules and Procedures guide how FPSC conducts investigations and hearings into actions by CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants that may represent a breach of the Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals and FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning. FPSC provides this document as a resource for both the complainant and the individual against whom the complaint is made. To ensure that a fair and consistent process is followed with each complaint, this document may be used by CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant legal counsel, complainant legal counsel and the independent Hearing Panel. 

Appeals

Either the CFP professional or FPSC Level 1 certificant, or FPSC (represented by Standards and Enforcement), may appeal the ruling of a disciplinary Hearing Panel if they believe that there has been a significant and material error interpreting a provision of the Standards of Professional Responsibility or the facts.

Appeal Panels are composed of three members of the FPSC Enforcement Policy Committee, one of whom serves as Chair. No member of the prior disciplinary Hearing Panel can participate on the Appeal Panel. The Appeal Panel’s decision is final and there is no further right of appeal.

More information regarding FPSC’s disciplinary process can be found in FPSC's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.

To find a qualified professional planner in your area that will help guide your financial future, use our Find Your Planner tool.

To find out more about how you are protected as a consumer, read FPSC Standards and Enforcement and Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards & Competencies