National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 1 Definitions and Application
Section 1.4 Definition of "independent"

independent

(1) In this Instrument, a member of the independent review committee is “independent” if the member has no material relationship with the manager, the investment fund, or an entity related to the manager.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a material relationship means a relationship which could reasonably be perceived to interfere with the member’s judgment regarding a conflict of interest matter.

Commentary

1. Under subsection 3.7(3), all members of the IRC must be independent of the manager, the investment fund and entities related to the manager. The CSA believe that all members must be independent because the principal function of the IRC is to review activities and transactions that involve inherent conflicts of interest between an investment fund and its manager. Given this role, it is important that the members of the IRC are free from conflicting loyalties.

2. While the members of the IRC should not themselves be subject to inherent conflicts or divided loyalties, the CSA recognize that there may be inherent conflicts relating to inter-fund issues where a single IRC acts for a family of investment funds. In those cases, this Instrument requires members to conduct themselves in accordance with their written charter and in accordance with the standard of care set out in this Instrument. The CSA do not consider the IRC’s ability to set its own reasonable compensation to be a material relationship with the manager or investment fund under subsection 1.4(1).

3. A material relationship referred to in subsection 1.4(1) may include an ownership, commercial, charitable, industrial, banking, consulting, legal, accounting or familial relationship. The CSA expect managers and IRC members to consider both past and current relationships when determining whether a material relationship exists.

For example, depending on the circumstances, the following individuals may be independent under section 1.4:

  • an independent member of an existing advisory board or IRC of an investment fund;
  • an independent member or former independent member of the board of directors, or of a special committee of the board of directors, of an investment fund;
  • a former independent member of the board of directors, or special committee of the board of directors, of the manager;
  • an individual appointed as a trustee for an investment fund; and
  • an independent member of the board of directors, or of a special committee of the board of directors, of a registered trust company that acts as trustee for an investment fund.

By way of further example, the CSA consider it unlikely that the following individuals would be independent under section 1.4:

  • a person who is or has recently been an employee or executive officer of the manager or investment fund; and
  • a person whose immediate family member is or has recently been an executive officer of the manager or investment fund.

The CSA also consider that it would be rare that a member of the board of directors, or special committee of the board of directors, of a manager could be ‘independent’ within the meaning of this Instrument. One such example of when a member of the board of directors of a manager could be ‘independent’ may be “owner-operated” investment funds, sold exclusively to defined groups of investors, such as members of a trade or professional association or co-operative organization, who directly or indirectly, own the manager. In the case of these investment funds, the CSA view the interests of the independent members of the board of directors of the manager and investors as aligned.