CFA Institute Recognizes May as 'Putting Investors First' Month

Global association leads movement of trusted investment professionals that put investor interests first.

TORONTO, April 30, 2015 /CNW/ - CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence, will recognize May as Putting Investors First Month. This marks the second year of this annual awareness campaign and builds on the success of May 2014, when activities took place in 58 cities globally by member societies representing more than 60,000 investment professionals. The initiative aims to unite investment professionals in a commitment to place investor interests above all others.

Throughout the month, many of the organization's 144 member societies worldwide will host local events and call attention to the needs and rights of investors by endorsing the Statement of Investor Rights, a list of ten rights that any investor should expect from financial service providers.

"We aspire to build and lead the investment management profession; to do this we must continue to stand together for what is right, and in investors' best interests. All investors have the right to be served by professionals who act as stewards of their savings," said Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute. "By supporting Putting Investors First Month, we want to inspire our community to make real impact and foster a market environment where investors can thrive."

Statement of Investor Rights Helps Investors to Demand Ethical Behaviour

The central focus of Putting Investors First Month 2015 is the Statement of Investor Rights, which financial professionals can endorse and share with their clients and communities; investors are also encouraged to read and endorse the Statement. The Statement applies to financial products and services such as investment management, research and advice, personal banking, insurance and real estate. It includes rights that investors are entitled to expect such as objective advice, disclosure of conflicts of interest, and fair and reasonable fees. The Statement is intended to help investors demand that financial professionals abide by these rights.

"The Statement of Investor Rights emphasizes the concept that the investor must always come first, and is a solid foundation for articulating and calling attention to the needs and rights of investors," continued Smith. "In this year's Global Market Sentiment Survey, 63 percent of members who responded cited a deficit in ethical culture within firms as the lead cause for lack of trust in the industry. We are asking investors and investment professionals to share and endorse the Statement of Investor Rights to reinforce that commitment to fundamental ethical principles and strengthen a culture of ethical behaviour."

For asset management firms seeking to show their support of investor rights, CFA Institute encourages them to adopt the Asset Manager Code of Professional Conduct (AMC). CFA Institute experts will hold three live, 60 minute webinars (to accommodate time zones across regions) on May 20. These will provide an overview of compliance and how it benefits firms.

Furthermore, on May 5, CFA Institute will launch a new report, Addressing Financial Reporting Complexity: Investor Perspectives, as part of the putting investors first theme.  This report looks at financial reporting complexity from the perspective of the investor – an important contribution that has yet to be included substantially in the current dialogue being undertaken by standard setters. The report is part of an extensive body of work by CFA Institute which looks at the impact of financial reporting requirements from the investor perspective. While the report is based upon a survey of professional investors, greater transparency will facilitate their services to their clients.  More information can be found here.

Activities around the World

Putting Investors First Month activities are expected to be held in many cities around the world -- a full list is available on the CFA Institute website.

Activities in Canada include:

  • CFA Society Toronto has created a campaign that will feature in the financial district throughout the month of May, highlighting the positive impact that members of the financial industry have on the lives of their clients
  • CFA Society Vancouver will host an event with the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, who will speak about changes the Bank of Canada is making to its market operations that will give it more flexibility to respond to financial system shocks and better manage risk
  • CFA Society Victoria will host an event celebrating the rise of women investors and angel-backed women-led companies
  • CFA Society Okanagan will host an event around understanding millennial clients
  • CFA Society Winnipeg will host a gala event to celebrate Putting Investors First Month in partnership with the Manitoba Financial Literacy Forum

Global activities include:

  • CFA Society Cayman Islands will host a conference for the Cayman Islands community about the importance of retirement planning and pensions, featuring keynote speaker Carl Richards and with support from the Department of Labour and Pensions.
  • CFA Society Chicago will ring the closing bell at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) to share the message of putting investors first.
  • CFA Society Finland will host a conference on investor rights; speakers will include leaders from the asset management industry, academia, and the government.
  • CFA Society Japan will host a conference on a Japanese Stewardship Code and Corporate Governance Code, featuring keynote speaker Motoyuki Yufu of the Financial Services Authority.
  • CFA Society Milwaukee will partner as volunteers with a statewide financial literacy program called Make A Difference – Wisconsin; the Statement of Investor Rights will be provided to approximately 600 attendees at their annual investment conference.
  • CFA Society New Mexico will host a Putting Investors First symposium addressing topics such as fiduciary duty and emerging regulatory trends, discovery and prevention of investor fraud, and ethical dilemmas.
  • CFA Society Philippines will host the 2nd Philippines Retail Investment Conference in collaboration with the Philippine Stock Exchange, Central Bank of the Philippines, Fund Managers Association of the Philippines, Trust Officers Association of the Philippines, Money Market Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Association of the Philippines, and Investment House Association of the Philippines, an event that will provide education to 600+ retail investors. They will also release a localized version of "Essentials of a More Secure Retirement."
  • CFA societies in Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt will host events on "Sustainability in Investing and Islamic Finance: Clarifying the Confusions."
  • CFA Society Singapore will host an event with Singapore Exchange to announce an investor education series and launch the Statement of Investor Rights.
  • CFA societies in Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Cyprus will hold events on systemic, regulatory and fundamental implications of capital market developments.
  • CFA societies across Texas and neighbouring states will host a series of panel discussions in collaboration with the US SEC looking at the state of the markets since 2008.
  • Government proclamations to put investors first will be issued by officials in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New Mexico, Missouri, Washington, and Wisconsin, among others.
  • Several societies will participate in a live broadcast event on 12 May focused on "Putting Investors First: Understanding Millennial Clients."

In addition, many societies will include Putting Investors First activities as part of the their year round event schedules, such as CFA Society UK whose annual Professionalism Conference in April focused on putting clients' interests first and invited two of the UK's largest asset owners to share their views on the investment profession's performance in meeting their needs.

Putting Investors First Month is part of the CFA Institute Future of Finance initiative, a global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry that better serves society. The initiative follows the 68th CFA Institute Annual Conference, which took place this week in Frankfurt, Germany. For more information about the Future of Finance, Putting Investors First Month, and the Statement of Investor Rights visit www.cfainstitute.org.  

About CFA Institute
CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behaviour in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. The end goal is to create an environment where investors' interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has more than 129,000 members, including 122,000 CFA charterholders, in 145 countries and territories and 144 member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org.

About Putting Investors First Month: May 2015
Putting Investors First Month is a global initiative created to encourage financial professionals to place the interests of investors above their own, and build awareness of the duty to protect investor interests. The event is presented as a collaborative effort by societies of CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. Putting Investors First Month is part of the Future of Finance project, a long-term global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry that better serves society.

SOURCE CFA Institute

For further information: Jannine Rane, FleishmanHillard, 416-645-3662, Jannine.Rane@fleishman.ca; J.D. McCartney, CFA Institute - New York, +1 (212) 418-6889, jd.mccartney@cfainstitute.org

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