The primary advocacy group for Canadian investors has hired a former regulator as its new executive director and hopes it can find a long-term source of money to ensure its survival.
The Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Investor Rights, known as FAIR Canada, says Jean-Paul Bureaud will assume its top job. A lawyer by training, Mr. Bureaud worked for the Ontario Securities Commission for 19 years before leaving in October, 2018. Most recently, he’s been a consultant for the World Bank.
FAIR Canada was started in 2008 to provide a voice for individual investors, but has struggled, particularly recently, for funding. Last year, it returned a $2-million gift from Stephen Jarislowsky, the founder of investment firm Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd., because it couldn’t raise $4-million in matching funds he required.
Earlier this year, FAIR Canada began dipping into a $2-million contribution from the Ontario Securities Commission, which was originally intended to put toward matching Jarislowsky’s funds, according to board co-chair Ellen Roseman.
Ms. Roseman says FAIR Canada hopes Mr. Bureaud will “reinvigorate” FAIR as it pursues funding. While the group has received some donations in the past year, she said, it will continue to look to regulators at the provincial and federal level as a logical source of support.
Ermanno Pascutto, FAIR Canada’s founder and interim executive director, told The Globe and Mail last year he was concerned the organization would need to cut staff and programs or risk eroding much of the OSC money by the end of 2020. The group’s financials for the year completed June 30, 2020, are not yet finalized, but FAIR lost $114,493 in fiscal 2019 and $546,413 in fiscal 2018.
FAIR Canada argues ordinary Canadians were virtually unrepresented before the organization was created, in part because retail investors lack the resources to effectively advance their own interests. In the past few months, FAIR Canada has commented on the Ontario Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce recommendations, questioned the potential merger of two major investment-industry regulatory organizations, and provided comments to the OSC on its proposed rule to restrict mutual funds’ deferred sales charges.
“It’s a unique organization that plays a very important role in the Canadian landscape,” Mr. Bureaud said Monday. “It has such a critical role in the investor-protection space, and I think it has huge potential as an organization.”
The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), which provided the initial funding for FAIR Canada, has given a total of $4.9-million over the years, including a $250,000 grant in the fall of 2018 from its restricted fund that comes from fines and settlements. At the same time, IIROC has said there are many important national and regional causes, and formed its own national investor panel to hear from Canadians on IIROC initiatives.
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