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Charyl Galpin, executive vice-president, managing director and head of private client division at BMO Nesbitt Burns, has been appointed chair of IIAC’s board of directors for the 2017-18 term.

BMO

A female executive will be taking the helm for the first time as chair at the Investment Industry Association of Canada.

Charyl Galpin, executive vice-president, managing director and head of private client division at BMO Nesbitt Burns, has been appointed chair of IIAC's board of directors for the 2017-18 term. Her appointment was announced at IIAC's annual general meeting Wednesday evening in Toronto.

"I am delighted to be named IIAC Board Chair and very proud to be the first woman to serve in this capacity," Ms. Galpin said in a statement. "I look forward to working with my IIAC board colleagues and staff to promote cost-effective regulation to benefit investors and our capital markets."

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The rise of female board members in Canada has been slow. Three years ago, regulators announced an initiative to help increase the number of females executives who sit on boards of directors and fill senior management roles. In September, 2016, women made up only 12 per cent of the boards at 667 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a report issued by the Ontario Securities Commission. This was up just 1 per cent from the previous year.

IIAC's first female board member was Sharon Watkins, chief executive of Sandstone Asset Management Inc. (the first female CEO of an securities licensed firm), who was appointed in 2007. Since then, there have been several female board members, with Ms. Galpin joining the board in 2015.

"Charyl Galpin's appointment is a testament to her experience, accomplishments and valued perspective," said Ian Russell, IIAC president and CEO in a statement. "Her appointment as our Chair is an indication of the broadening diversity of leadership right across the Canadian investment industry and financial sector."

Last year, the IIAC was criticized by the industry group Women in Capital Markets for the lack of diversity in its annual investment industry Hall of Fame awards. Since the Hall of Fame was launched in 2013, 29 people have been inducted – with only one female making the list.

In a newsletter to the industry, WCM wrote: "It is a disappointment to women that the industry's advocacy association is not recognizing the impact talented women have had on the industry."

Ms. Galpin started in the industry more than 35 years ago as a bank teller with the Bank of Montreal, where she has spent the majority of her career. She was appointed the sole head of BMO Nesbit Burns in 2015 and assumes the role of IIAC board chair as the industry continues to deal with regulatory reform, shifting client priorities and technological advancements in the sector.

With files from Jacqueline Nelson

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