Canadian Underwriter

The Co-operators pledges $10 million in funding to co-operative investment fund

June 28, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Co-operators plans to up its funding commitment to $10 million for the soon-to-be-launched Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF), a fund meant to help support and strengthen the country’s co-operative sector.

The Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund is the first-ever such fund in the country

Created under the leadership of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada  (CMC), the CCIF is the first-ever such fund in the country, notes The Co-operators, a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration.

Set to launch in the coming months once it reaches $25 million committed from the Canadian co-operative and mutual sector, the CCIF will support development and expansion of Canadian co-operatives with loans and other funding sourced from the co-op sector.

The concept “is that Canadian co-operatives will invest with the expectation of a modest return on their investment, but with the additional aim of enabling a new and more flexible source of funding specifically for developing co-operatives,” notes the statement from The Co-operators.

The company points to a 2012 study from Deloitte that found 74% of co-operatives around the world identified access to capital as “somewhat difficult” or “difficult.” This is because co-operatives, which are owned and democratically controlled by their membership, are not able to access capital markets in the same way as investor-owned companies, the statement explains.

“Access to capital has long been recognized as a significant challenge facing co-operatives and we’re pleased to support this solution designed by the co-op sector for the co-op sector,” Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators, says in the company statement.

With The Co-operators’ funding commitment, the CCIF “has now reached a tipping point and is ready to launch,” reports Jack Wilkinson, the newly elected president of CMC. “Now is the time for this idea, it is a first-class impact investment opportunity that will support the development of co-ops in Canada.”