The Canadian Association
of Insurance and Financial Advisors (CAIFA) is a national association
of financial professionals committed to putting clients’ interests
first. Since 1906, Canadians have depended upon CAIFA to promote
excellence in the financial services sector.
"Our motto, Non Solis Nobis, means ‘not for
ourselves alone’ said Rick Nelson. Today, CAIFA is one of the nation’s
largest voluntary associations in the financial services sector
with 51 chapters in most major cities and towns across Canada.
Financial information has never been more readily
available to consumers. Most people do not have the time or inclination
to wade through a mountain of complex information to plan their
financial future. Whether you are investing in RRSPs, buying your
first house, saving for your children’s education or planning your
estate, a financial advisor will help you balance today’s needs
with your short-term and long-term financial concerns and aspirations.
They can recommend the most suitable life insurance, disability
benefits/and or critical illness protection to protect you and your
family in the event of a catastrophe, illness, accident or death.
However, choosing the right insurance and/or financial
advisor can be as intimidating as deciding which investment products
to include in your portfolio. With an estimated 50,000 financial
advisors in Canada – including accountants, lawyers and, perhaps,
even your local banker – how do you decide which one is right for
you? "Membership in a professional association such as CAIFA
is a good start" advised Jessica Grasso. It is important to
do your homework before choosing a financial advisor, a profession
that today has surprisingly few government regulations. Financial
advisors who sell products such as securities, mutual funds, and
insurance must be licensed where they practice. However, other than
in Quebec, there are currently no regulations governing those who
provide financial planning and advice.
CAIFA is committed to helping its member more effectively
serve their clients. All members must either have, or be on a track
towards, completing the requirements for a Certified Financial Planner
(CFP) or Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation, in order
to qualify and retain CAIFA membership.
Certified Financial Planner, CFP – This is an internationally
recognized standard for personal financial planning and other advice
on investment products and strategies.
Chartered Life Underwriter, CLU – This advisor
specializes in advice on life insurance needs, tax and estate planning
and may also offer assistance in financial planning for business
owners. This designation is only granted to CAIFA members.
Chartered Financial Consultant, CH.F.C. – This
advisor is an expert in retirement planning and capital accumulation
strategies. This designation is only granted to CAIFA members.
CAIFA members are also required to earn a minimum
of 60 continuing education credits every two years…that is double
the industry standard. "Government mandated proficiency exams
set a minimum standard for advisors," stated Stevens. "A
wise consumer demands more than the bare minimum" he continued.
"As a member of CAIFA, a financial advisor is sending a message
to their clients that they are committed to planning excellence
in a changing environment."
We also consider ourselves a watchdog for Canadian
investors; advocacy is a cornerstone of CAIFA. Members are aware
of potential legislative changes with the insight of an informed
participant. Clients can be assured that CAIFA members understand
their concerns and actively work to influence legislation at both
the federal and provincial levels to protect their interests."
Within their own association, CAIFA members adhere
to the highest standards of professionalism and abide by a strict
Code of Professional Conduct.
As a local chapter of over 500 members, CAIFA Greater
Hamilton is also very proud of their work within the community.
They organize food drives at their general meetings and have raised
approximately $30,000 over the last two years for Cystic Fibrosis
at their annual Charity Golf Classic which is run by Rick Nelson
and Jessica Grasso.
The straightest line from confusion to financial
security is a line that is best drawn with the help of a planning
professional. Your financial future is too important to leave to
chance. To ensure peace of mind, do some research and ask questions
before entering in a relationship with any insurance or financial
advisor. "Does the person belong to the Canadian Association
of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or any other professional organization?
If not, ask ‘why?," Stevens recommends. "It is your future,
and your money. You have the right to ask."
For a free copy of "How to Choose and Profit
from a Financial Advisor," please go to the CAIFA website at
or call Jessica Grasso or Rick Nelson