Investment industry explores how to serve investors in the face of transformation

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - John Adams, the new chair of The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) took his keynote remarks at IFIC's 28th leadership conference as an opportunity to celebrate the industry's achievements over the past year and to highlight three significant trends that are transforming the industry.

"This past year, the mutual funds industry reached a major milestone," Adams told an audience of about 300 investment funds executives in Toronto.  "For the first time, Canadians placed considerably more money in long-term investment funds than in deposits," he said, noting the reliability of the industry's products and investors' confidence in mutual funds as they struggle to build savings in a low interest environment.

Looking to the future, Adams, who is also CEO of PFSL Investments Canada, noted that Canada's changing demographic landscape will have a profound impact on the industry as Millennials come of age and the baby boomer generation transitions into retirement.

"Millennials are the first generation born into a digital world," he noted. "They are connected with people across the globe through texting, social media and blogging. Just as they are changing everything from social interaction to car ownership, they are certain to create new approaches to how financial advice is given and received."

The second driver of change will be the need to incorporate and embrace technology to ensure clients receive the best possible advice. Adams noted that new technologies can free up advisors to tackle more sophisticated activities, such as financial coaching to help clients build knowledge and confidence, and to provide them with tailored advice and other services.

The third trend identified by Adams is the influence of regulatory change at home and abroad, including the growing movement for financial regulators to comply with globally forged standards.

"Importing specific regulatory approaches from one jurisdiction to another is not the right approach," he emphasized. "Local rules need to reflect local history, legal structures and needs of stakeholders."

Adams noted that the Canadian investment funds industry is very much aligned with its regulators in wanting to ensure that investors are well-served and can make better decisions based on increased knowledge and understanding. He noted that, as the industry continues to focus on enhancing the investor experience, collaboration is at the core of its activities.

"The first step in shaping any new rules is to clearly identify the problem that needs to be solved. Only then can we begin to create appropriate solutions. In our rapidly changing world, collaboration between the industry and regulators is not merely a nice thing to have. It is essential to have, to ensure investors have choice in an environment where they are protected."

Sessions throughout today's conference will delve deep into industry and investor trends in Canada and abroad, such as regulatory developments, enhancing the investor experience, the impact of changing demographics on the advice channel, and updates on key domestic and international tax policies.

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 mutual fund industry and its investors for more than 50 years.

IFIC and its members work with public policymakers to ensure that policy and regulatory decisions are taken with full knowledge of their potential impact on investors and investment funds providers, and with a view to creating a level playing field across financial products and services. As of August 31, 2015, Canadians have accumulated savings of $1.21 trillion in mutual funds.

SOURCE The Investment Funds Institute of Canada

For further information: Sara Clodman, Senior Manager. Public Affairs, 416-309-2317, sclodman@ific.ca

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http://www.ific.ca

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