Rick Nelson
The following article was reproduced from the Hamilton Spectator Monday February 4. 2002

pssst!Looking for some sound financial advice?

If your like most Canadians, your answer to that question is yes. Most people are interested in planning for the future, they just don't know where to start - or who they can trust to put their hard earned dollars to work for them.


     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 www.caifa.com or call Jessica Grasso or Rick Nelson

Author: Jessica Grasso, Communications Chair for CAIFA Greater Hamilton and submitted to the Hamilton Spectator Jan 2002.


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