Gary Hawton, Socially Responsible Investing Trailblazer, Receives the Canadian SRI Distinguished Service Award

VANCOUVER, June 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Gary Hawton, President of OceanRock Investments Inc. ("OceanRock"), was presented with the Canadian SRI Distinguished Service Award at the Social Investment Organization ("SIO") annual conference. In addition to this honour, Gary was also appointed to the role of President of the board of the SIO after serving several years in other executive board positions. Both the award and the nomination were presented to Gary in recognition of his leadership and extensive contributions to socially responsible investing ("SRI") and his relentless pursuit of environmental, social and governance accountability for publicly traded companies.

The award, which is presented by the SIO, can only be won once in a person's lifetime.  It is awarded to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the Canadian socially responsible investment industry through their leadership, commitment, initiative, innovation, collaboration and/or impact in advancing industry growth and recognition.

Gary Hawton SRI Trailblazer - Pioneer for Socially Responsible Investing and "Say on Pay" in Canada.

Among his many accomplishments in the SRI industry, Gary is best known as the founding CEO of Meritas SRI Funds, now a division of OceanRock. Under Gary's leadership, Meritas has become one of Canada's fastest growing SRI fund companies due in part to its unwavering commitment to shareholder engagement.

Gary has been a key driver for SRI in the retail and institutional investment arena in Canada including being a pivotal figure in the "Say on Pay" movement. In a recent radio interview, Gary spoke of his early days in advocating "Say on Pay" for executive compensation and how far this concept has come. Over five years ago, Gary began a dialogue with the five largest banks in Canada promoting the ability for shareholders to have a non-binding or advisory vote on executive compensation. While initially rejected by issuers and other investors, "Say on Pay" is now generally accepted as best practice from a corporate governance perspective. Due to the efforts of Gary and other key advocates, "Say on Pay" is here to stay in Canada with at least 98 companies providing shareholders with an annual advisory vote on executive compensation.

In response to the award and the appointment to the role of President of the SIO board Hawton states, "I am very pleased that Socially Responsible Investments are having such an impact for Canadian investors. I am honoured to receive this award from my peers and look forward to further advocacy on behalf of shareholders as President of Oceanrock and President of the SIO."

Scott Gibner, CEO of Qtrade Financial Group, recognizes the significant contributions that Gary has made to the SRI industry in Canada. "Gary is a cornerstone for SRI and shareholder advocacy.  He has put a tremendous amount of thought, energy and passion into cultivating SRI in Canada. All of us at Qtrade Financial Group and OceanRock are very proud of Gary and what he has been able to accomplish for Canadian investors."

About OceanRock Investments Inc.

Meritas SRI Funds, a division of OceanRock Investments Inc. ("OceanRock"), has been dedicated to building SRI solutions for individual and institutional investors for over 10 years. OceanRock is a unique provider of traditional and SRI solutions, and is a subsidiary of Qtrade Financial Group. For more information, visit www.oceanrock.ca.

About Qtrade Financial Group

Qtrade Financial Group provides comprehensive brokerage and wealth management platforms, services and solutions to the retail public as well as the customers of hundreds of financial institutions across Canada. Since 1999, Qtrade has been dedicated to providing its financial institution partners with a single source for market-leading wealth management products and services including: online, full-service and institutional brokerage services, mutual fund dealer services, insurance dealer services, portfolio management, discretionary money management services and proprietary managed money solutions. For more information, visit www.qtrade.ca.

About the Social Investment Organization

The SIO is a national membership-based organization that includes financial institutions, investment firms, financial advisors, and various organizations and individuals interested in socially responsible investments. The SIO's mandate is to promote the practice of SRI in Canada. SRI is the integration of environmental, social and governance factors in the selection and management of investments.  For more information, visit www.socialinvestment.ca.


SOURCE Qtrade Financial Group

For further information:

Qtrade Financial Group
Ron Cann
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
T 778.331.2056
rcann@qtrade.ca


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