June 21, 2018

Opportunities to participate in a changing environment

By Hugh Moncrieff, Executive Vice-President, Advisory Network and Industry Affairs

Changing customer preferences, emergence of digital technologies with new low cost models, evolving regulatory environments, increasingly explicit price competition and fee transparency – our business is changing.

And it’s time to challenge ourselves to preserve and evolve advice-based distribution so that it continues to meet the needs of Canadians in this constantly changing world.

Advisors play an integral part of communities across Canada from coast to coast to coast. As part of the social fabric of our communities, advisors help Canadians realize their goals and secure their financial futures. Increasingly, advice is the product we offer. Advice is foundational to customer success.

Advised households

The CIRANO report: The Gama Factor and the Value of Financial Advice study was published in 2016. Surveys were completed in 2010 and 2014 as part of this study.

  • The study showed that those who sought out advice as a result of the 2010 survey had 69% more assets in 2014 than those who did not.
  • Advised households save at double the rate of non-advised households (8.6 per cent annual savings vs. 4.3 per cent)* and have, on average, nearly four times more investable assets than those with no advisor**

*CIRANO, An Econometric Analysis of the Value of Advice in Canada, 2012
**The Investment Funds Institute of Canada, The Value of Advice Report, 2011

The long-term health of the financial advice ecosystem depends on our collective ability to answer key questions:

  1. What must industry do to ensure sustainable advice channels that provide significant value to Canadians?
  2. What is an effective oversight and regulatory model that is built for the future?
  3. How should products/solutions, distribution structures and practices change to remain competitive?
  4. What capabilities do market participants need to build for the future?
  5. What can we learn from other jurisdictions that have dealt with similar issues?

Industry partners must collaborate to maintain a viable advice channel focused on positive customer outcomes.

At Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life we’re advocating for clients, advisors and the industry by playing an active role in shaping how the environment evolves. Make no mistake, we view this as an opportunity to be an active participant in a changing environment to improve the outcomes for advisors and clients. For example:

  • We’re studying the impacts to our industry and our business
  • We helping stakeholders recognize the value of financial advice to Canadians and the importance of our industry to Canada, remembering that the customer’s interests come before our own
  • In working with stakeholders, we’re being practical and realistic about how to maintain a viable advice channel that focuses on positive customer outcomes and compromising where it is easy to do so with an eye to the bigger picture

Regulation is global and the regulatory environment in Canada is often impacted by events that occur outside our country. We’re working with regulators and policymakers to stay focused on the Canadian context and on Canadian solutions.

By nature of your association with Advocis, I know you understand the importance of effective advocacy and there is room for all of us to be involved in shaping the narrative about our industry.  Canada needs Canadian solutions and policies designed for Canadian issues.

There are opportunities in these changing times if we’re all moving forward together - advisors, manufacturers, distributors, policymakers and regulators need to collaborate. The future of financial advice depends on industry’s ability to focus on positive customer outcomes and support an environment that ensures Canadians have access to financial advice.

As we move forward, we’ll continue engaging with you, Canada’s financial advisors, to develop positive changes that understand and foster the importance of financial advice to meet the financial security needs of Canadians.