iA has always placed a high priority on establishing and maintaining sound and prudent corporate governance, in the interests of the company and its stakeholders.
Integration of sustainable development in our governance structure
Our vision for sustainable development is to be a company that actively contributes to sustainable growth and wellbeing for its clients, employees, partners, investors and communities. To support this vision, our governance structure incorporates sustainability through our various committees.
Risk Management, Governance and Ethics Committee
This committee, which is part of the board of directors, is responsible for the iA Financial Group Sustainable Development Policy and examines the company’s strategy in this area. The committee meets quarterly to oversee and discuss iA Financial Group’s sustainability strategy. The committee’s mandate is available at ia.ca.
The steering committee establishes iA Financial Group’s sustainable development strategy, objectives and targets and monitors their progress. It is composed of members of management from various business lines and departments within iA.
Formerly the Strategic Advisor Committee, this committee is made up of a multidisciplinary team. Its role is to issue recommendations, support teams and business units in implementing actions, conduct strategic monitoring of ESG factors in our industry, act as an expert group regarding our sustainability approach, and produce content for our internal and external stakeholders.
Climate Change Task Force
This task force brings together experts from the areas of property management, investments, material resources and information technology. Its goal is to carry out our Towards a Carbon-Free Future project by developing and implementing an action plan to reduce our environmental impact.
Diversity and Inclusion (D+I) Committee
The D+I Committee is made up of members from all levels of iA Financial Group and from a variety of sectors. The role of this committee is to establish the organization’s diversity and inclusion strategy in order to provide a workplace that is recognized as inclusive for all and to oversee its progress. For example, in 2020, the committee recommended targets for the representation of women in senior leadership positions at iA Financial Group.
Sustainability is a commitment taken seriously by our board of directors, our management and our employees. We remain committed to enabling each of our employees to actively contribute to sustainable development, to propose initiatives and to act as ambassadors within our sustainability approach.
Policies and practices for sound governance
The policies and practices that make up the governance structure were developed in the spirit of ethics, integrity and prudent risk management. The company has also adopted rigorous monitoring mechanisms to ensure that its governance policies are practices are understood and strictly adhered to by everyone concerned, including the directors, officers and employees of iA Financial Group. Some of these policies and practices are described below. For more information, visit our governance page for iA Financial Group.
Sustainable Development Policy
Our Sustainable Development Policy clearly expresses iA Financial Group’s commitment to creating economic and social value and our desire to share our sustainable development objectives and guidelines with our various stakeholders. iA Financial Group helps achieve five United Nations goals that are directly aligned with its organizational mission: good health and wellbeing, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities within and among countries, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action.
The purpose of our policy is to highlight the eight guidelines that frame iA Financial Group's thinking, strategy and achievements in the area of sustainable development, which are to: (i) ensure the financial wellbeing of our clients, (ii) manage risk effectively, (iii) follow high standards of governance, (iv) actively contribute to our communities, (v) manage environmental impact, (vi) create a rewarding work environment focused on diversity and inclusion, (vii) practice responsible sourcing, and (viii) integrate ESG factors into our investment processes.
Our governance framework
Our governance framework supports iA Financial Group’s purpose, which is to assure that our clients feel confident and secure about their future. It is through this framework that the company establishes its strategy and determines its objectives and the means to achieve them, all while monitoring risks and opportunities to protect the interests of the company and its stakeholders.
Code of Business Conduct
This stringent code applies to employees, officers and directors of iA Financial Group and its subsidiaries. Its main objective is to emphasize the high standards of behaviour expected and required of them and the importance of acting ethically, honestly and with integrity at all times.
Every new employee and director is required to read and agree to abide by the Code of Business Conduct prior to beginning to work for the company. All directors, officers and employees are required to confirm in writing on an annual basis that they have reviewed the code and complied with it during the year.
iA Financial Group has an Integrity Hotline for all employees, consultants and suppliers. The goal is to reinforce the company’s ethics culture by making it easier to report ethics violations in complete confidentiality. Any employee who has knowledge of an actual or potential violation or integrity issue involving accounting, accounting controls or personal or business ethics has the responsibility to notify their manager, Human Resources or the Legal Department, or to report such information anonymously through our Integrity Hotline. Reports are received by an external firm, guaranteeing the confidentiality of calls and written statements. Employees, consultants and suppliers who call the Integrity Hotline to report an incident honestly and in good faith are assured that they will not face any retaliation from iA Financial Group or its members, regardless of the investigation outcome. This code addresses the existence and operation of the Integrity Hotline.
Board Independence Policy
The Board Independence Policy defines the criteria for assessing the independence of the company’s directors. It establishes the proportion of independent directors required within the board and its committees, as well as the specific independence criteria that apply in order to sit on certain committees. It also states the measures that have been put in place to monitor and ensure the independence of the board and its directors.
Under our Board Independence Policy, the board must be independent of the company. Accordingly, all directors are independent of the company, except for Denis Ricard, who has a direct material relationship with the company as its President and Chief Executive Officer.
Board Diversity Policy
In order to encourage diversity on its board, iA Financial Group has adopted the Board Diversity Policy. According to this policy, when seeking and selecting candidates for board membership, the Risk Management, Governance and Ethics Committee and the board recruit the best possible candidates, while aiming to improve diversity in accordance with established objectives. The notion of diversity includes not only gender diversity, but also diversity with respect to ethnic origin, geographic origin, cultural identity, sexual orientation and age.
iA Financial Group’s communications must be timely, factual, accurate and balanced. They also must be widely available, in compliance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements. Our Disclosure Policy applies to all our employees, directors and all those authorized to speak on behalf of the company. The Disclosure Committee, which is an internal committee, is responsible for ensuring that all securities regulatory disclosure requirements are met and for overseeing the company’s disclosure practices. More information can be found on our accessibility page.
Securities Trading Policy
A fundamental rule of Canada’s financial markets is that every person who invests in the securities of publicly traded companies must have equal access to information that could influence his or her investment decisions.
In order to build public confidence in market integrity, material information on the business or affairs of a reporting issuer, like iA Financial Group, must be disclosed simultaneously and in a timely manner to all market participants.
Our Securities Trading Policy establishes, among other things, certain rules regarding transactions and trades in the company’s securities by insiders and employees.
In addition, our Code of Business Conduct stipulates that in the course of their duties, employees who have access to privileged information or material information that has not yet been made public must not, on their own behalf or on behalf of friends, relatives or related companies, trade in securities using such information or otherwise use such information before it has been fully disclosed to the public and sufficient time has elapsed to allow for the dissemination thereof.
Moreover, certain persons, because of their functions and the information to which they have access, are subject to trading blackout periods on the company’s securities.
Risk Management Policy Regarding Fraud and Other Practices Associated with Financial Crime
This policy establishes the basis of the risk management program regarding fraud and other practices associated with financial crime. It deals with, among other things, accounting, internal accounting controls and auditing matters. It applies to all employees, officers and directors. Risk management regarding fraud and financial crime is a continual process supported by the implementation of measures for prevention, detection and monitoring, and by effective governance.
Other policies and practices contribute to establishing and maintaining sound and prudent corporate governance, in the interests of the company and its stakeholders, including the following: