The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has released a proposal that would see continuing education (CE) become mandatory for mortgage brokers. The proposal is out for public comment until February 28. In spring 2011, FSCO plans to release its decision on its website.
Since the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act (MBLAA) came into effect in 2006, FSCO monitored and audited licensees’ compliance with the new requirements. The results provide objective evidence that there is a need for mandatory CE, according to FSCO.
Stated the proposal: “Despite FSCO’s year-long information and outreach campaign, and significantly improved new education standards, FSCO’s audits revealed an unacceptably high level of non-compliance. Of particular concern – only 53 per cent of principal brokers had complied with the legal requirement to file information about their mortgage agents’ education qualifications (as of October 29, 2009). In addition, only 70 per cent of mortgage brokerages met the legal requirement to maintain errors and omissions insurance.”
FSCO says the goals of mandatory CE for mortgage brokers are to improve the sector’s compliance with current legal requirements by increasing awareness of the rules and the importance of complying with those rules, and to improve consumer protection – without imposing unnecessarily onerous requirements on licensees.
“IMBA has long been a proponent of continuing education for Ontario mortgage professionals and we welcome the initiatives that FSCO has undertaken,” commented Martin Marshall, communications chair for IMBA. “We believe that education is one of the cornerstones of professionalism and ongoing education requirements to maintain licensing will allow our members the opportunity to constantly improve their skills. As we have done since our inception, IMBA will continue to provide consistent access to relevant industry topics through various seminars and symposiums across the province.
“The real winner here is the consumer who will be able to count on dealing with a mortgage professional that is continually working to improve their knowledge.”
FSCO has established five key principles, which it says are consistent with the continuing education principles for life insurance agents.
1. FSCO will not provide continuing education directly.
2. FSCO will seek to harmonize its requirements with those in other provinces.
3. CE must be readily accessible to licensees through the Internet, by correspondence and perhaps also in a classroom setting or some combination of these approaches.
4. CE programs must be administratively efficient – for CE providers, licensees and FSCO.
5. FSCO will not require licensees to duplicate CE training that they have completed through a professional association, educational institution, other provincial regulator or commercial education provider.
You can e-mail comments to MBCE@fsco.gov.on.ca
and include “CE Consultation for the Mortgage Broker Sector” in your e-mail’s subject line.