FAIR Canada Picking Our Pockets Again

The Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR Canada) has announced (back in August, actually, but I don’t spend a lot of time refreshing my knowledge of them):

the receipt of significant new funding from both the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

The OSC has provided a $2.5 million contribution toward FAIR Canada’s fundraising campaign. The OSC’s contribution comes from funds collected from monetary sanctions and settlements.

“We are thrilled that the OSC has again demonstrated its strong support of FAIR Canada’s work through a substantial funding contribution,” said Neil Gross, Executive Director of FAIR Canada. “FAIR Canada has developed an ambitious fundraising plan and we are grateful to lead donors like the OSC and Stephen Jarislowsky for getting our campaign off to a terrific start.”

Earlier this year, FAIR Canada announced that one of its long-standing directors, Stephen Jarislowsky, had made a $2 million contribution which challenged FAIR Canada to raise at least an additional $4 million to provide a $6 million endowment fund.

“The OSC’s contribution will go a long way to meeting this challenge and will help to provide a sustainable basis of funding for the organization going forward. FAIR Canada encourages like-minded individuals and organizations to contribute to our campaign,” said Gross.

From this one-time commitment of funds by the OSC, $500,000 will be allocated to cover day-to-day operating expenses and $2 million will be placed in trust with the FAIR Canada Jarislowsky Endowment Fund for long-term funding of the organization.

“On behalf of the board of directors of FAIR Canada, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the OSC for its generous financial support and its support of our activities,” said FAIR Canada board Chair Ellen Roseman. “FAIR Canada provides an important voice in the policy development process and we thank the OSC for recognizing the value of our work. With this new funding we will continue to be able to fulfill our mission.”

FAIR Canada also announced today that, with IIROC’s final payment under its second round of funding totaling $900,000, IIROC’s funding commitment has now been completed.

IIROC has played a pivotal role in supporting FAIR Canada since FAIR Canada’s inception in 2008. “FAIR Canada thanks IIROC for this grant and for the generous financial support they have provided throughout the past six years,” said Gross, noting that IIROC had supplied FAIR Canada with very substantial original funding and had made additional contributions pursuant to a 2012 agreement.

FAIR Canada was founded by ex-regulators and currently trumpets its staff of lawyers; they receive cash from the regulatory slush funds. Nice work, if you can get it.

Update, 2015-12-7: The OSC news release stated:

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) announced today the allocation of $2.5 million in funds collected from monetary sanctions and settlements to the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR Canada), a national charitable organization dedicated to advancing investor interests.

“We are pleased to provide funding to FAIR Canada to support the long-term continuation of their work on behalf of investors in Ontario and across the country,” said Howard Wetston, Q.C., Chair and CEO of the OSC. “The work conducted by FAIR Canada has been extremely valuable to the OSC as we look to further educate, engage and protect retail investors in Ontario.”

Providing protection to investors is central to the OSC’s mandate. The OSC’s support is consistent with its own investor focused initiatives such as the Office of the Investor, which leads the OSC’s efforts to identify and understand investor issues and concerns through investor engagement and research. The Office works closely with the OSC’s Investor Advisory Panel and the Investor Education Fund to support their mandates.

The OSC’s financial contribution to FAIR Canada will support its operation and ongoing pursuit to advance the education of the public, government and regulators about capital markets, savings, investments and investment practices. FAIR Canada, in addition to providing education through conferences, roundtables and symposia, conducts and publishes research and is a national voice for investors in securities regulation.

Of this one-time commitment of funds by the OSC, $500,000 will be provided to FAIR Canada to cover its day-to-day operating expenses and $2 million will be placed in trust with the FAIR Canada Jarislowsky Endowment Fund for long-term funding of the organization.

The OSC administers and enforces securities legislation in the province of Ontario. The OSC’s statutory mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices and to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets.

The 2015-6-30 Financial Statements of FAIR observe:

Endowment Fund

In the 2014 fiscal year, the Foundation received $2,000,000 from the Jarislowsky Foundation (“JF”) to establish an Endowment Fund for the purpose of providing operating funds to the Foundation. Under the terms of the agreement, the Foundation must raise an additional $4,000,000 in matching contributions to add to the Endowment Fund, with the exact amount of the Matching Contribution required to be 200 percent of the market value of the original capital as of the Matching Gift Deadline. Should the required matching contributions not be received by the deadline, JF has the right to call for the return, within 10 days of the Matching Gift Deadline, of the original capital at its market value plus the net income earned from the Endowment Fund less any disbursements from the Endowment Fund, based on the disbursement policy set out in the agreement.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the Foundation received $2,000,000 of the required matching contributions from the Ontario Securities Commission (“OSC”) which is subject to the completion of the terms of the JF Endowment Fund. The OSC’s right to call for the return of the OSC’s endowment contribution is the same as stated in the JF endowment fund agreement except that the return of such funds to the OSC must be made within 40 days.

The Foundation has received an extension of the Matching Gift Deadline from both JF and the OSC until March 31, 2016 in order to raise the remaining $2,000,000 in funding.

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