National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 5 Conflict of interest matters
Section 5.4

Standing instructions by the independent review committee

(1) Despite section 5.1, the manager is not required to refer a conflict of interest matter nor its proposed action to the independent review committee if the manager complies with the terms of a standing instruction that is in effect.

(2) For any action for which the independent review committee has provided a standing instruction, at the time of the independent review committee’s regular assessment described in subsection 4.2(1),

(a) the manager must provide a written report to the independent review committee describing each instance that it acted in reliance on a standing instruction; and

(b) the independent review committee must

(i) review and assess the adequacy and effectiveness of the manager’s written policies and procedures on the matter or on that type of matter with respect to all actions permitted by each standing instruction;

(ii) review and assess the manager’s and investment fund’s compliance with any conditions imposed by it in each standing instruction;

(iii) reaffirm or amend each standing instruction;

(iv) establish new standing instructions, if necessary; and

(v) advise the manager in writing of all changes to the standing instructions.

(3) A manager may continue to rely on a standing instruction under subsection (1) until such time as the independent review committee notifies the manager that the standing instruction has been amended or is no longer in effect.

Commentary

1. Section 5.4 recognizes that there are certain actions or categories of actions of the manager for which it may be appropriate for the IRC to choose to provide a standing instruction. For example, this may include a manager’s ongoing voting of proxies on securities held by the investment fund when the manager has a business relationship with the issuer of the securities, or, a manager’s decision to engage in inter-fund trading.

2. The CSA expect that, before providing or continuing a standing instruction to the manager for an action or category of actions, the IRC will have:

    • reviewed the manager’s written policies and procedures with respect to the action or category of actions;
    • requested from the manager or other persons a report or certification to assist in deciding whether to give its approval or recommendation for the action or category of actions under subsection 5.2(1) or 5.3(1), as the case may be;
    • considered whether a standing instruction for the particular action or category of actions is appropriate for the investment fund; and
    • established very clear terms and conditions surrounding the standing instruction for the action or category of actions.

An IRC may consider including in any standing instruction any terms or conditions in prior exemptive relief orders, waivers or approvals obtained from the securities regulatory authorities.

  1. As part of the IRC’s review under subparagraph (2)(b)(ii), the IRC is expected to be mindful of its reporting obligation under section 4.5 of this Instrument, which includes notifying the securities regulatory authorities of any instance where the manager, in proceeding with an action, did not meet a condition imposed by the IRC in its approval (this includes a standing instruction).
  1. This section is intended to improve the flexibility and timeliness of the manager’s decisions concerning a proposed course of action in a conflict of interest matter.