TORONTO, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - Chief executive officers from a cross-section of Ontario's financial services industry gathered today to form a "Financial Services Leadership Council" to guide implementation of a strategy designed to raise Toronto's status as a global financial services hub, thereby attracting investment and creating jobs. Creation of the Council was recommended in a report issued last week by the Toronto Financial Services Working Group.
The Council held its inaugural meeting today with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and City of Toronto Mayor David Miller. They discussed the working group report, entitled "Partnership and Action: Mobilizing Toronto's Financial Centre for Global Advantage," which was prepared for them by Boston Consulting Group, and expressed their support for its goal of growing Toronto Region to become one of the two leading financial clusters in North America and one of the top ten global hubs.
The Council also selected former Manulife CEO Dominic D'Alessandro to chair the Council. In this capacity - an unpaid position - Mr. D'Alessandro will preside over future meetings and act, from time to time, as a liaison on Council matters with the three levels of government.
In a statement, Mr. D'Alessandro said that he would be pleased to take on the new role: "Enhancing the region's financial services sector represents an unprecedented economic opportunity for our city, our province, indeed, our country," he said. "I look forward to the Financial Services Leadership Council's role in seizing this opportunity, and enhancing our position as a leading financial centre."
The Partnership and Action report discussed at today's meeting identifies four priority opportunities that have the potential to drive a projected incremental 25,000-40,000 jobs and $4 billion - $5 billion in annual GDP over a five-year time horizon. A common theme is building world-class hubs of expertise or activity. The priorities are:
- Establishing a global institute for risk management.
- Entrenching Canada's position as the leading global hub for mining,
metals, and energy financing and trading.
- Becoming a global leader in retirement financing solutions.
- Growing skilled financial services activity clusters, e.g., fund
administration, advanced technology functions, legal, accounting,
actuarial, customer service, and credit adjudication.
The Financial Services Leadership Council will take steps to flesh out these priorities and develop a plan to move forward on the proposals.
"Toronto is already home to the world's strongest and most stable financial sector," said Mr. D'Alessandro. "Our aim is to capitalize on this position of strength and, in turn, attract new investments and generate many more good jobs to the region."
As noted in the Partnership and Action report, financial services and manufacturing have historically acted as the twin engines of the Toronto Region economy. From 2003 to 2008, however, the manufacturing employment base in Toronto Region has declined by 3.5% annually. In that same period, financial services jobs in Toronto Region grew by 4.3% per annum, contributing an incremental $6.2 billion in GDP - more than offsetting the $3.8 billion in GDP lost from manufacturing.
Council members applauded the Government of Ontario's announcement, at the meeting, that it will invest $1 million in the Council's plans. Additional funding partners are expected to participate as the strategy is developed.
"Momentum is on our side," said Mr. D'Alessandro. "We already have a dynamic and diverse sector. There's incredible support from all three levels of government, and across our industry. We have a strategy in place, and the determination to move this initiative forward."
This initiative was launched after discussions between Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and a group of financial CEOs. The Toronto Financial Services Working Group was created, co-chaired by Janet Ecker (President of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance) and Don Drummond (Chief Economist, TD Bank Financial Group). The Working Group engaged the team at Boston Consulting Group, who co- invested their own resources in a project they consider crucial to Toronto's success, conducted research around the world, and consulted with leaders from across the industry to develop the recommendations set out in the report. One of the recommendations was to create a leadership council "to set the direction, publicly champion the strategy, oversee implementation and commit resources to drive execution." In a show of unprecedented unity of purpose, chief executive officers representing the breadth and depth of Canada's financial services industry - banks, insurance companies, securities firms, pension funds, investment managers, stock exchanges - have agreed to participate on the Council, which held its inaugural meeting today.
In their introduction to the Partnership and Action report, co-chairs Janet Ecker and Don Drummond write:
"There will be those who question the wisdom of governments expending
effort on a sector that is not struggling. With so many sectors of our
economy in trouble, why focus on our banks and insurance companies, our
securities and investment firms? But that is precisely why we should.
They have weathered the storm. They have proven their value to our
economy in a time of need. When other sectors are shrinking, they are
able to grow. If we expect to sustain future economic growth and the
quality of life that flows from it, if we want to be able to replace the
employment we are losing, then it is a trend that needs to be
accelerated, not taken for granted."
Private Sector CEOs in Attendance at the Inaugural Meeting of the
Financial Services Leadership Council
Ed Clark Gordon Nixon
(TD Bank Financial Group) (RBC)
David Denison Michael Nobrega
(CPP Investment Board) (OMERS - Ontario Municipal Employees
(Manulife Financial) Charles Sims
(Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan) Robin Spencer
(TMX Group) Richard Waugh
SOURCE Toronto Financial Services Alliance
For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Brian Smith, tel. (416) 822-3130, firstname.lastname@example.org