IIAC Committees – How to Participate

Serving as an IIAC Committee Member

The IIAC would not be as successful without the many volunteers on the Association’s committees. Over 90% of IIAC committee members responding to a 2012 IIAC survey believe that both they personally, and their companies, benefit from their participation on IIAC committees.

Committee Types: IIAC has two types of committees. Those with the word “Committee” in their names are permanent ones that address specific ongoing priority issues such as markets, smaller dealers, compliance, taxation and regional matters. Ad hoc task forces on particular topics that arise from time to time, often set up by and reporting to a Committee, are called “Working Groups” and their term may last from weeks to years. IIAC relies on its member firms to appoint representatives to, or on their employees to volunteer for, both types of committees to help in industry advocacy and member support efforts.

Note that the information below does not necessarily extend, although may also apply, to the Board of Directors and Board committees.

Committee Features: Committees and Working Groups come in all sizes and shapes, depending on their purpose. Committees are often more formal in terms of having a chairperson, minutes and ongoing tasks. Working Groups can be as small as two or three people who may report back to a Committee or Working Group, or can be 30 or more people on issues that arise quickly where time to respond is limited, for example, a securities commission proposal or draft federal budget legislation. Working Groups may not have a chairperson, and as the agenda may be completion of a single task, minutes may be replaced by creation and subsequent versions of a single submission or member tool or template.

Commonalities: Some common features you can expect of all committees are addressed in the following frequently asked questions and answers.

How are committees formed?

Committees are listed on the IIAC website. While they are permanent, sometimes new ones are created when there is expected to be an ongoing body of work: the Registered Plans Committee was the most recent one formed.

Working Groups, which change more frequently, are not listed on the IIAC website, but a list can be made available on request to members. Working Groups are formed by either Committees or Working Groups, or following an IIAC request for volunteers when a new issue arises or a member firm recommends one on a topic likely to be of general interest. Requests for new Working Group volunteers appear in the IIAC’s newsletter. Sign up for our weekly newsletter on what’s new in our industry and where you may have an opportunity to become involved to help you, your firm and your industry. Contact Members_Membres@iiac.ca if you are interested in seeing if there is a Working Group of interest to you.

How do members get picked?

Committee members are a mix of people assigned and people who volunteer, and they must meet the requirements of the committee. For any committees on broad-based issues, IIAC works to ensure a balanced representation of people from firms that are national and regional, large and small, bank-owned and independent, institutional and retail. For committee member expectations, see below. Associate members qualify for membership on certain committees. In extremely rare occasions, a non-member (but not someone from a non-IIAC IIROC firm), may participate on a committee, although usually as a guest only and for certain meetings or agenda items alone.

To ensure that committees can be optimally productive, IIAC staff use their judgment to determine whether committee participation should be limited to one representative per IIAC member firm or, on occasion, if access should be restricted for any reason.

What are the expectations of a committee member?

Recognizing that committee participation take place on top of each committee member’s own work and personal commitments, the IIAC works to make the most efficient use of members’ time. To ensure everyone benefits from committee involvement, these are the key criteria:

Member Attributes:

Have the:

  • Knowledge and expertise appropriate to the committee’s mandate
  • Time to participate meaningfully
  • Willingness to share knowledge and the committee workload Seniority generally equivalent to that of other committee members.

Member Commitments:

Out of respect for the time of other members:

  • Come prepared to meetings (read agenda and attachments, obtain feedback from within their firm as required)
  • Attend the majority of meetings
  • Participate in discussion, including raising concerns or disagreeing on a timely basis
  • In the agreed timeframe:

   Undertake action items agreed to

   Obtain any necessary internal sign-offs

   Advise with appropriate notice that a requested action cannot be completed in the required period.

How are committee Chairs chosen?

Chairs or Co-Chairs and/or Vice-Chairs are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and experience. They can be selected by a committee; IIAC can request volunteers; or on occasion IIAC will approach an individual to act as a Chair. IIAC tries to ensure that, at any given time, Chairs – like committee members – come from a range of different firms and firm types across all its committees so that no member firm or firm type has undue workload or influence. Standing Committee chairs usually have terms of one or two years. Working Groups may not have Chairs, and terms are more informal.

What can I expect of my committee Chair?

  • Agree, as required, on meeting agendas consistent with the committee’s mandate
  • Guide meeting discussions, with IIAC staff/committee secretary assistance, ensuring that all members have an opportunity to be heard
  • Help, with IIAC staff, summarize action agreed to during the course of the meeting to confirm broad member understanding
  • Approve, as agreed, a final version of a submission where time is of the essence
  • Appear, as agreed, with IIAC staff at meetings with third parties or possibly on industry panels representing the committee’s position, and not his or her firm’s alone unless acceptable under the circumstances
  • Address, with the IIAC committee secretary, issues of committee process or concern raised by committee members.

What can I expect of the IIAC staff person/committee secretary assigned to my committee?

He or she will, within the broader context of his or her overall job responsibilities:

  • Arrange meetings on a regular basis or ad hoc ones to accommodate the schedules of as many committee members as possible, respectful of members’ different time zones
  • Orient new members on the committee, its mandate and any expectations
  • Prepare agendas for the committee based on the committee’s mandate, Chair suggestions, member feedback, and IIAC Board-approved strategy and priorities
  • Help summarize action agreed to during the meeting
  • Complete minutes or lists of actions and/or action items
  • Advise on or obtain advice on government relations, public affairs and other matters germane to achieving a committee’s purposes
  • Co-ordinate across IIAC committees that may be dealing with related issues and provide historical information where needed to strive for consistency in positions taken in IIAC responses
  • Respond to members’ questions
  • Ensure all members are treated with the respect they deserve
  • Point out to members if discussion risks straying into areas of gathering or exchanging information among members that may be perceived by third parties to signal pricing directions or limits/restrictions on output, volume, or quality of members’ services

How are committee decisions made?

Committee decisions are almost always arrived at by consensus. A committee may decide to vote on certain items. In such a case, there is only one vote per member firm. On rare occasions, there are issues that are contentious. In these instances, IIAC staff will try to foster agreement through various means – rewording or removing part of a proposal, seeking discussion and approval at a more senior level, etc.

Have unanswered questions?

Please speak to any IIAC staff member or contact Members_Membres@iiac.ca. We look forward to your participation on a committee in the future!

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