National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 4 Functions of independent review committee
Section 4.1

Review of matters referred by manager

(1) The independent review committee must review and provide its decision under section 5.2 or under section 5.3 to the manager on a conflict of interest matter that the manager refers to the independent review committee for review.

(2) The independent review committee must perform any other function required by securities legislation.

(3) The independent review committee has the authority to choose whether to deliberate and decide on a matter referred to in subsection (1) and (2) in the absence of the manager, any representative of the manager and any entity related to the manager.

(4) Despite subsection (3), an independent review committee must hold at least one meeting annually at which the manager, any representative of the manager or any entity related to the manager are not in attendance.

(5) The independent review committee has no power, authority or responsibility for the operation of the investment fund or the manager except as provided in this section.

Commentary

1. The Instrument requires the IRC only to consider matters referred to it by the manager that involve or may be perceived to involve a conflict of interest for the manager between its own interests and its duty to manage an investment fund.

Securities legislation also requires the IRC to consider other matters. For example, a change in a mutual fund’s auditor and certain reorganizations and transfers of assets between related mutual funds under Part 5 of NI 81-102 require the review and prior approval of the IRC for the manager to proceed.

2. The manager and the IRC may agree that the IRC will perform functions in addition to those prescribed by this Instrument and elsewhere in securities legislation. This Instrument does not preclude those arrangements, nor does this Instrument regulate those arrangements.

3. Subsection (3) permits the IRC to decide who, other than IRC members, may attend any IRC meeting other than the meeting referred to in subsection (4). Subsection (3) also does not preclude the IRC from receiving oral or written submissions from the manager or from holding meetings with representatives of the manager or an entity related to the manager or any other person not independent under this Instrument. The CSA believe utilizing the manager’s staff and industry experts may be important to help the members of the IRC understand matters that are beyond their specific expertise, or help them understand different practices among investment funds.

4. The requirement that the IRC hold at least one meeting without anyone else present (including management of the investment fund) is intended to give the members of the IRC an opportunity to speak freely about any sensitive issues, including any concerns about the manager.

The CSA are of the view that subsection (4) is satisfied if the IRC holds a portion of any meeting annually without the presence of the manager, any representative of the manager or any entity related to the manager.


National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 4 Functions of independent review committee
Section 4.2

Regular assessments

(1) At least annually, the independent review committee must review and assess the adequacy and effectiveness of

(a) the manager’s written policies and procedures required under section 2.2;

(b) any standing instruction it has provided to the manager under section 5.4;

(c) the manager’s and the investment fund’s compliance with any conditions imposed by the independent review committee in a recommendation or approval it has provided to the manager; and

(d) any subcommittee to which the independent review committee has delegated, under paragraph 3.11(1)(d), any of its functions.

(2) At least annually, the independent review committee must review and assess

(a) the independence of its members; and

(b) the compensation of its members.

(3) At least annually, the independent review committee must review and assess its effectiveness as a committee, as well as the effectiveness and contribution of each of its members.

(4) The review by the independent review committee required under subsection (3) must include a consideration of

(a) the independent review committee’s written charter referred to in section 3.6;

(b) the competencies and knowledge each member is expected to bring to the independent review committee;

(c) the level of complexity of the issues reasonably expected to be raised by members in connection with the matters under review by the independent review committee; and

(d) the ability of each member to contribute the necessary time required to serve effectively on the independent review committee.

Commentary

1. Section 4.2 sets out the minimum assessments the independent review committee must perform. Subject to these requirements, the IRC may establish a process for (and determine the frequency of) additional assessments as it sees fit.

2. The annual self-assessment by the IRC should improve performance by strengthening each member’s understanding of his or her role and fostering better communication and greater cohesiveness among members.

3. When evaluating individual performance, it is expected that the IRC consider factors such as the member’s attendance and participation in meetings, continuing education activities and industry knowledge. The manager may also provide IRC members with feedback which the IRC may consider.

It is expected the self-assessment should focus on both substantive and procedural aspects of the IRC’s operations. When evaluating the IRC’s structure and effectiveness, the IRC should consider factors such as the following:

    • the frequency of meetings;
    • the substance of meeting agendas;
    • the policies and procedures that the manager has established to refer matters to the IRC;
    • the usefulness of the materials provided to the members of the IRC;
    • the collective experience and background of the members of the IRC;
    • the number of funds the IRC oversees; and
    • the amount and form of compensation the members receive from an individual investment fund and in aggregate from the fund family.

4. The CSA expect the members of an IRC to respond appropriately to address any weaknesses found in a self-assessment. For example, it may be necessary to improve the IRC members’ continuing education, recommend ways to improve the quality and sufficiency of the information provided to them, or recommend to the manager decreasing the number of investment funds under the IRC’s oversight.


National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 4 Functions of independent review committee
Section 4.3

Reporting to the manager

The independent review committee must as soon as practicable deliver to the manager a written report of the results of an assessment under subsection 4.2(1) and (2) that includes

(a) a description of each instance of a breach of any of the manager’s policies or procedures of which the independent review committee is aware, or that it has reason to believe has occurred;

(b) a description of each instance of a breach of a condition imposed by the independent review committee in a recommendation or approval it has provided to the manager, of which the independent review committee is aware, or that it has reason to believe has occurred; and

(c) recommendations for any changes the independent review committee considers should be made to the manager’s policies and procedures.


National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 4 Functions of independent review committee
Section 4.4

Reporting to securityholders

(1) An independent review committee must prepare, for each financial year of the investment fund and no later than the date the investment fund files its annual financial statements, a report to securityholders of the investment fund that describes the independent review committee and its activities for the financial year and includes

(a) the name of each member of the independent review committee at the date of the report, with

(i) the member’s length of service on the independent review committee;

(ii) the name of any other fund family on whose independent review committee the member serves; and

(iii) if applicable, a description of any relationship that may cause a reasonable person to question the member’s independence and the basis upon which the independent review committee determined that the member is independent;

(b) the percentage of securities of each class or series of voting or equity securities beneficially owned, directly or indirectly, in aggregate, by all the members of the independent review committee of the investment fund

(i) in the investment fund if the aggregate level of ownership exceeds 10 percent;

(ii) in the manager; or

(iii) in any person or company that provides services to the investment fund or the manager;

(c) the identity of the Chair of the independent review committee;

(d) any changes in the composition or membership of the independent review committee during the period;

(e) the aggregate compensation paid to the independent review committee and any indemnities paid to members of the independent review committee by the investment fund during the period;

(f) a description of the process and criteria used by the independent review committee to determine the appropriate level of compensation of its members and any instance when, in setting the compensation and expenses of its members, the independent review committee did not follow the recommendation of the manager, including

(i) a summary of the manager’s recommendation; and

(ii) the independent review committee’s reasons for not following the recommendation;

(g) if known, a description of each instance when the manager acted in a conflict of interest matter referred to the independent review committee for which the independent review committee did not give a positive recommendation, including

(i) a summary of the recommendation; and

(ii) if known, the manager’s reasons for proceeding without following the recommendation of the independent review committee and the result of proceeding;

(h) if known, a description of each instance when the manager acted in a conflict of interest matter but did not meet a condition imposed by the independent review committee in its recommendation or approval, including

(i) the nature of the condition;

(ii) if known, the manager’s reasons for not meeting the condition; and

(iii) whether the independent review committee is of the view that the manager has taken, or proposes to take, appropriate action to deal with the matter; and

(i) a brief summary of any recommendations and approvals the manager relied upon during the period.

(2) The report required under subsection (1) must as soon as practicable

(a) be sent by the investment fund, without charge, to a securityholder of the investment fund, upon the securityholder’s request;

(b) be made available and prominently displayed by the manager on the investment fund’s, investment fund family’s or manager’s website, if it has a website;

(c) be filed by the investment fund with the securities regulatory authority or regulator; and (d) be delivered by the independent review committee to the manager.

Commentary

1. The report to be filed with the securities regulatory authorities should be filed on the SEDAR group profile number of the investment fund as a continuous disclosure document. The CSA expect that the investment fund will pay any reasonable costs associated with the filing of the report.

2. It is expected the report will be displayed in an easily visible location on the home page of the website of the investment fund, the investment fund family or the manager, as applicable. The CSA expect the report to remain on the website at least until the posting of the next report.

3. The disclosure required in subparagraph (1)(a)(iii) is expected to be provided only in instances where a member could reasonably be perceived to not be ‘independent’ under this Instrument.


Exemptive Relief Orders

National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 4 Functions of independent review committee
Section 4.5

Reporting to securities regulatory authorities

(1) If the independent review committee is aware of an instance where the manager acted in a conflict of interest matter under subsection 5.2(1) but did not comply with a condition or conditions imposed by securities legislation or the independent review committee in its approval, the independent review committee must, as soon as practicable, notify in writing the securities regulatory authority or regulator.

(2) The notification referred to in subsection (1) is satisfied if it is made to the investment fund’s principal regulator.

Commentary

1. Subsection (1) captures a breach of a condition imposed for an otherwise prohibited or restricted transaction described in subsection 5.2(1), for which the manager has acted under Part 6 of this Instrument or under Part 4 of NI 81-102. This includes a breach of a condition imposed by the IRC as part of its approval (including a standing instruction), or, for example, any conditions imposed for inter-fund trading under section 6.1 of this Instrument or section 4.3 of NI 81-102, for transactions in securities of related issuers under section 6.2 of this Instrument, and for purchases of securities underwritten by related underwriters under section 4.1 of NI 81-102.

The CSA consider that a breach of a condition imposed by securities legislation (including this Instrument) or by the IRC in a transaction described in subsection 5.2(1) will result in the transaction having been made in contravention of securities legislation. In such instances, the securities regulatory authorities may consider taking various action, including requiring the manager to unwind the transaction and pay any costs associated with doing so.

2. The CSA expect that the IRC will include in its notification the steps the manager proposes to take, or has taken, to remedy the breach, if known.

3. Notification under this section is not intended to be a mechanism to resolve disputes between an IRC and a manager, or to raise inconsequential matters with the securities regulatory authorities.

4. The CSA do not view this section or this Instrument as preventing the manager from communicating with the securities regulatory authorities with respect to any matter.


National Instrument 81-107 Independent Review Committee for Investment Funds
Part 4 Functions of independent review committee
Section 4.6

Independent review committee to maintain records

An independent review committee must maintain records, including

(a) a copy of its current written charter;

(b) minutes of its meetings;

(c) copies of any materials and written reports provided to it;

(d) copies of materials and written reports prepared by it; and

(e) the decisions it makes.

Commentary

1. Section 4.6 sets out the minimum requirements regarding the record keeping by an IRC. The CSA expect IRCs to keep records in accordance with existing best practices.

2. The IRC is expected under paragraph (b) to keep minutes only of any material discussions it has at meetings with the manager or internally on matters subject to its review.

The CSA do not view this section or this Instrument as preventing the IRC and manager from sharing record keeping and maintaining joint records of IRC and manager meetings.

3. The CSA expect the IRC to keep records of any actions it takes in respect of a matter referred to it, in particular any transaction otherwise prohibited or restricted by securities legislation, as described in subsection 5.2(1), for which the manager has sought the approval of the IRC.