Montréal - A task force chaired by the Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") in collaboration with 13 other agencies and professional orders has highlighted three areas of intervention to improve the protection of vulnerable members of society who need assistance in managing their assets.

The task force, which was created at the request of the Minister of Finance, focused on three primary issues: legislation and standards pertaining to wealth management and banking powers of attorney, the ability of professionals to disclose cases of abuse and the management of trust accounts and accounts held in trust.

"Some of the proposed solutions require extensive work and major validations, particularly with respect to legislative and regulatory amendments. However, it seemed crucial to begin now to propose concrete initiatives to raise public awareness. Much still has to be done but the members of the task force are all driven by the desire to improve the protection of vulnerable persons," said Mario Albert, AMF President and CEO.

In addition to the new guide entitled Trust must be earned! and a simplified sample power of attorney, the task force recommends that improvements be made to the framework governing management mandates as well as trust accounts and accounts held in trust. As well, a working group will conduct further research to determine practices in other jurisdictions and measures that could be taken to prevent abuse. "The matter of professional secrecy raises a number of complex issues. The challenge is to achieve a proper balance between protecting the public and protecting guaranteed charter rights," noted Alain Dugal, Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec (OCAQ).

New guide and sample power of attorney

The guide entitled Trust must be earned! will help raise public awareness about the risks of fraud and what to do to deter fraud. "A smile and a friendly pat on the back are not a guarantee of competence or reliability. Consumers should be careful and ask themselves: Who is this guy who wants to manage my savings? It's so important to do business with a recognized and qualified professional," advised Me Jean Lambert, head of the Chambre des notaires du Québec.

The sample power of attorney developed by the task force is intended to be a straightforward and user-friendly tool that will help consumers better understand its scope. "It's not always easy to determine what should be included in a power of attorney. Although it's always better to consult a professional, this sample power of attorney will help protect the public. The Bar has always supported educational measures intended for the general public since they are the best guarantee against vulnerability," explained Me Louis Masson, Ad.E., President of the Québec Bar.

The publication of the task force report (available in French only) is an important milestone that will be followed by an industry consultation, particularly with respect to the proposed sample power of attorney.

The guide Trust must be earned! and the sample power of attorney will be available from the task force partners. Print copies can also be obtained by contacting any of the various organizations.

The task force is made up of representatives of the following 14 agencies and professional orders:

Autorité des marchés financiers This link will open in a new window
Barreau du Québec This link will open in a new window
Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse This link will open in a new window
Chambre de la sécurité financière This link will open in a new window
Chambre des notaires du Québec This link will open in a new window
Curateur public du Québec This link will open in a new window
Institut québécois de planification financière This link will open in a new window
Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés This link will open in a new window
Ministère de la Justice This link will open in a new window
Office des professions du Québec This link will open in a new window
Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec This link will open in a new window
Ordre des CGA du Québec This link will open in a new window
Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec This link will open in a new window
Ordre des comptables en management accrédités du Québec This link will open in a new window

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