Canadian Underwriter

Trade associations join in lobby group

February 19, 2002   by Canadian Underwriter

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Trade associations representing the financial services will join together in a single lobby group, despite their differences on certain legislative issues. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), Investment Dealers Association (IDA) and Investment Fund Institute of Canada (IFIC) will form the Financial Services Council of Canada (FSCC).
The new group is intended to “better coordinate their efforts on legislative, regulatory and policy issues in which they have a common interest”, states a joint press release. What those common issues will be remains to be seen.
In the past, associations have sometimes been at odds on legislative issues, such as recently when the IBC lobbied for a federal solution to terrorism reinsurance, but was not backed by the CBA. However, with convergence in the financial services sector, many companies are finding themselves involved in issues affecting several of the associations involved and the regulations affecting them.
“We will not agree on every policy issue, nor do we expect to,” says George Anderson, president and CEO of the IBC. “Where we can find common cause an understanding, and coordinate our respective efforts in a single direction, it will benefit financial consumers and financial services providers, as well as governments.”
The move is in part of response to the convergence of regulatory structures, such as in the Joint Forum of Financial Market Regulators, or the merger of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). As well, recently the same associations announced the formation of an industry-backed National Financial Services Ombudsman (NFSO).
The new council is described as “informal”, and will be made up of the heads of each association. Its first chair will be Mark Daniels, president of the CLHIA. Its key functions will be to coordinate lobbying efforts when mutually beneficial, so that they are stronger, but also more efficient. As well, the council will “provide a forum to address broad issues affecting the overall role of the financial services sector in Canada’s economy”.

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