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The Voice of Canada’s Investment Funds Industry

Media Release

IFIC Annual Leadership Conference Showcases Innovation and Investor Choice


Canadians continue to build financial security with more than $1.4 trillion in mutual funds.

Toronto, ON – September 27, 2017 – Rapidly evolving innovation and unparalleled investor choice were the central themes of a day-long conference hosted by The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) on Wednesday, September 27 in Toronto.

In his opening remarks, newly appointed IFIC board chair Ross Kappele noted that Canadians one of the industry’s strengths is: “…to provide investors with a broad range of choices in terms of product features, structures and risk profiles. This gives each investor the flexibility to pursue a unique investment strategy… a strategy that reflects their comfort and ability to handle risk… a strategy that lets them decide where they want to be on the active-passive spectrum.”

Kappele described the emergence of technologies that are transforming the industry’s capacity to offer unparalleled choices to help clients thrive.

“Just as we are working to integrate robo-advice, some new kids are arriving on the block,” Kappele said. “Distributed ledger technology, quantum computing and artificial intelligence will transform the industry in ways that we can only begin to imagine. Many large companies have created business innovation labs to explore how to integrate these technologies into our businesses.”

Kappele noted that market forces have steadily reduced investor costs. More than 30 firms have reduced fund pricing in a variety of ways, including lowering management fees, trailer fees and administrative expenses, as well as lowering or eliminating performance fees. These firms account for more than 90% of total mutual fund assets. Asset weighted MERs for long-term mutual funds have dropped 9.0% since 2006.

At the same time, the average cost of ownership for actively managed funds through advice channels continues to fall and is on par with the U.S., at 1.95% when the impact of taxes is excluded.

Conference goers also heard how fund products are evolving to meet consumer demand as active and passive management strategies move from competitive to complimentary and even blended approaches.

In addition to noting the many positive developments in technology and in the marketplace, Kappele declared the need to proceed carefully with regulatory changes that could undermine investor outcomes in the long term.

“Our goal is to pave the way for investors to thrive. For this to happen, consumers must have choices about how they access and pay for investments and advice,” Kappele stated. “We are committed to working with regulators to achieve meaningful results for investors. A strong regulatory environment is an essential foundation for a strong industry.”

More than 30 speakers addressed the audience of 300+ industry leaders, regulators and international experts, exploring these themes more deeply, as they delved into discussions about the blurring lines between active and passive investing, emerging strategies to lower costs as prices continue to decline, the brave new world of fintech and the shifting role of regulators.

The event featured geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan, who provided insights on navigating today’s geopolitical risks and opportunities.

Video and audio recordings from the conference will be available on IFIC’s website in the weeks ahead.

About IFIC

The Investment Funds Institute of Canada is the voice of Canada’s investment funds industry. IFIC brings together 150 organizations, including fund managers, distributors and industry service organizations, to foster a strong, stable investment sector where investors can realize their financial goals. By connecting Canada’s savers to Canada’s economy, our industry contributes significantly to Canadian economic growth and job creation. The organization is proud to have served Canada’s investment funds industry and its investors for more than 50 years.

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For more information:

Pira Kumarasamy, Consultant, Public Affairs
pkumarasamy@ific.ca | 416-309-2313