It’s an exciting time to be part of the investment funds industry. With a number of important regulatory initiatives underway, it’s also an incredibly busy time. I’m optimistic about our industry and the great strides being made to enhance operational efficiency, reduce the regulatory burden, and provide more complete information to investors through initiatives like total cost reporting and the transition to a new self-regulatory organization (SRO). The new developments will ultimately result in a stronger and more efficient industry for firms and investors.
As I enter my fifth month as CEO of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC), I don’t purport to have all the answers. But I am confident that my extensive industry knowledge, having worked both in distribution and on the fund manufacturing side, will be a benefit in industry conversations with our members and other key stakeholders as we all navigate a quickly evolving landscape.
One of our key priorities this year is total cost reporting. IFIC has supported this initiative for many years, and we were pleased to see that the final rules resulted from a collaborative approach with all stakeholders and reflected industry feedback.
Namely, IFIC has long advocated for an extended timeline so firms can complete complex technology builds. We will work with the industry and our members to help ensure a smooth transition.
This year also marked the transition to a new SRO — newly minted as the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization. This will also be a major implementation project that will ultimately enhance the investor experience by streamlining registration, refining administrative processes and reducing investor confusion.
IFIC will also continue to support the industry as ESG or responsible investing growth trends continue. The Responsible Investment Identification Framework set out by the Canadian Investment Fund Standards Council established an initial list of identified investment funds that will help industry stakeholders find and identify solutions that use a responsible investing approach.
One way we’ve amplified the work being done is through a recent well-attended webinar on ESG-related investment fund disclosure in collaboration with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). IFIC provided the forum to clarify disclosure expectations set out in CSA Staff Notice 81-334 ESG-Related Investment Fund Disclosure.
The value of advice remains paramount in all the work we do, and it’s something I’m personally passionate about. This year, IFIC will fund updated value of advice research by CIRANO, using the same methodology as previous studies, with the objective of analyzing the impact when Canadian households use financial advisors to manage their financial assets.
On the research and statistics front, IFIC also recently launched an interactive executive dashboard for fund managers who contribute data. The dashboard transforms raw datasets into a user-friendly visual snapshot of key metrics, charts, graphs and tables. This is just one of the ways we continue to expand and evolve our statistics reporting capabilities as we seek to enhance our value proposition to our valued members.
As the industry continues to move the needle on several important projects, implementation will present unique challenges. A collaborative approach will help move us in the right direction. This is why I am so proud to be leading IFIC’s advocacy work with the support of its engaged membership. Collaboration with our board, volunteer members, government, regulators and other industry stakeholders will ultimately help us to ensure the best outcome for investors.
Andy Mitchell is president and CEO of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada.