CFA Montréal: Connecting to Community
One of the primary ways member societies support members is through advocacy — practical efforts to educate and build relationships with regulators, with the investment community, and with investors directly. CFA Montréal, established in 1950 and now with more than 2,500 members, recognizes that while the CFA© charter is widely recognized and valued among investment professionals and regulators, there is still work to be done with investors.
“Over the last few years, our focus has been to play a bigger role in educating investors about our value and promoting good investment practices,” said Sophie Palmer, CFA, president of CFA Montréal.
In 2014–2015, CFA Montréal applied for and was awarded project funding from CFA Institute to redesign its website and launch a major advertising campaign to highlight the CFA Institute Future of Finance initiative, a global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry in which investor interests come first. It was a strong start, but then-president Jacques Lussier, CFA, wanted to go even further.
His vision was for CFA Montréal to lead a new era for the Québec finance industry, one in which exemplary performance, excellence, and ethics take precedence. The society determined that “Putting Investors First” month, planned for May 2016, provided the ideal opportunity to start communicating those values through a direct dialogue with investors.
With funding from CFA Institute, the society team launched a new advertising campaign around “Putting Investors First” last May, the same time as the 2016, 69th CFA Institute Annual Conference in Montréal, which brought more than 2,000 investment professionals from around the world to the society’s backyard. CFA Montréal partnered with 11 other Canadian societies to launch the global brand awareness campaign, “A Difference That Matters™,” throughout Canada. This visibility and industry leadership has allowed CFA Montréal to attract several high-profile speakers to its member events, which, in turn, has generated more media coverage and greater attendance from Canada’s investment management industry.
In addition to the advertising campaign, CFA Montréal created a series of educational fact sheets focused on topics relevant to investors and investment professionals. The first series was designed to help the society’s members communicate the value of its services to investors, and the second was intended to generate wider acceptance of CFA Institute principles in the investment community.
CFA Montréal’s effort to educate investors has grown far beyond what the society originally envisioned. The educational fact sheets have been adopted by member societies worldwide, published by Finance et investissement as part of a monthly series, shared on social media by a top bank’s brokerage branch, and featured in an advertising campaign for La Presse, the most successful web media organization in Québec. CFA Montréal continues its investor awareness campaign in 2017 by promoting the educational fact sheets through a social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
“A few years ago, CFA Institute CEO Paul Smith, CFA, encouraged us to think big,” Sophie said. “CFA Institute has given us direct funding and support for these initiatives. With their encouragement, we have the confidence to take that step and make big things happen.”
In addition to its investor advocacy, CFA Montréal has continued to be a leading advocate within Canada’s investment industry. The society has led efforts to attract more women to CFA Institute and the industry through the Women in Investment Management Initiative, and has helped establish the Canadian Advocacy Council, an organization whose goal is to promote the principles of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.