31 January 2017
Dear IFIE members,
As we are going into a new year, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a brief update on our vision for IFIE and our major goals to focus on in 2017. But before that, I wish you all a healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year!
On our web site, IFIE’s vision is defined as “… to create and promote the highest possible standards for the most efficient delivery of investor education around the globe.” There are three concepts that stand out in our vision; standards, efficiency and being global. Although our vision is centered around “delivery of investor education”, i.e. improving the initiatives of our members, we believe IFIE itself has also room to improve its own standards and efficiency. Therefore, we initiated a process of reviewing our current infrastructure. In order to be able to support our members and mission, IFIE itself should have a strong foundation. In terms of being global, we have two main objectives; expand our membership and establish relations with the global institutions. Keeping these three pillars of our vision in mind, I would like to summarise what we have done so far, and what we are planning to do in 2017.
The first meeting of representatives of IFIE-IOSCO-OECD to explore areas of cooperation and collaboration took place during the annual IFIE-IOSCO Global Investor Education conference in Istanbul in June 2016. After that face-to-face meeting, two conference calls have been organized among leadership of the three parties. I believe that relations with IOSCO and OECD are the most valuable initiative that IFIE is currently undertaking. I also believe that improving relations with these global organizations will take IFIE to a new level and enhance chances of success for everyone in the field.
As a first step, these three organizations started sharing their calendars with each other. In addition, parties will be inviting each other to their public events when possible. We also shared our workstreams and discussed the topics each organization is working on. Later, I believe that there will be opportunities to take part in the workstreams of other institutions. For IFIE, this means our ideas, research reports, papers, comment letters, additional programming such as more webinars etc. can contribute to IOSCO’s and OECD’s work. When we reach that stage, we have to be sure that IFIE has the capacity and resources to devote to this collaboration.
I am delighted to see the dedication of these organisations to collaborate with IFIE. On the other hand, this also means that expectations from IFIE will be high, as we are a flexible organisation representing a diverse group of members (i.e. regulators, associations, exchanges, programme deliverers etc.). To meet these high expectations, we need to improve IFIE’s organisational capacity. Therefore, as you already are aware, we initiated an internal review process. The reason that we have been trying to improve the efficiency of IFIE as an organisation is to be able to better serve the collaboration among these global organisations and better serve members. Our ultimate goal is being a valuable partner of IOSCO and OECD in their investor education initiatives.
There are various investor education topics that IOSCO and OECD have been working on. However, three major topics stand out among others; fintech, aging population and behavioural finance. When shaping the 2017 IFIE-IOSCO Global Investor Education Conference, we are going to take these three topics into consideration and make sure that our sessions cover them. In addition, I believe that while reviewing (or designing) investor education initiatives in our own jurisdictions, we may consider working on these topics. On the other hand, as IFIE, we have to think about how we can better utilize our members’ expertise and experiences on these areas.
When we initiated the internal review process, we realized that some parts of the Charter may have caused confusion for new member candidates on the functioning of IFIE. We refined some of the wording, and discussed it with the Advisory Committee. Advisory Committee’s suggestions are being worked on. The final version of the Charter will be presented to the Advisory Committee again for their review. Following the approval of the Advisory Committee, the proposed changes will be presented to the global membership for final approval during our annual conference in June.
We also initiated a review on the documentation of our internal processes. Documents, policies and procedures defining the accounting, financial transactions, conference organisation, meeting organisation, roles and responsibilities of the secretariat and the Executive Director have been put together. These written materials need to be regularly revised and updated to be in line with our practices.
IFIE is a global platform that serves its members and stakeholders through sharing practical, implementable information, ideas and experiences. Therefore, better communication both within IFIE and with our stakeholders is a key component of our organisation. Currently, we are serving this goal mainly through;
i. IFIE web site
iv. Annual conference
v. Regional and global conference calls
vi. Regional programming and working groups
Initially, we explored several alternatives to renew our web site only, mainly due to the budget constraints in mind. However, our initial work led us to consider a broader and long-term approach. Then, we contacted several communication consultancy companies and worked on their suggestions. After evaluating our options and upon the approval of the Advisory Committee, we decided to hire Emergence as IFIE’s strategic communications partner. Emergence is going to help us in improving our communication with our members and other stakeholders. We expect them to help us improve our messages, corporate identity, web site, corporate documentation, marketing materials and other relevant deliverables. Their major contribution will be in developing the right messages and content. As we receive deliverables from Emergence, we are going to share their work with the Advisory Committee for suggestions and ideas.
As our work becomes more visible, we are being approached by new membership inquiries. In 2016, Financial Futures Association of Japan (FFAJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) became members of IFIE. We are in touch with several other interested parties. I am delighted to see that our membership is continuously growing.
We organised four webinars during 2016. Webinars are a very effective tool to share ideas and experiences. The results are also kept on our web site so that anyone can watch them whenever they want. We are working on organising new webinars with several experts and also thinking of other ways to reach out to a wider community to promote our work.
IFIE continues its global investor education surveys including the State of Global Investor Education annual benchmarking survey now in its 7th year. Surveys are quite effective in determining the common challenges and constraints of our members. By analysing those surveys, we are able to see what kind of support our members need to improve their capacity and how IFIE can develop its own initiatives and services accordingly, i.e. whether we need to address these issues through webinars or workstreams, chapter activities, during our conference and adjacent meetings or through any other way.
Our annual Global IFIE-IOSCO Investor Education Conference is going to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 4-7 June 2017, graciously hosted by ANBIMA. IFIE-IOSCO Global Investor Education Conference Committee is working on the topics, speakers and agenda of the event. As in last year’s event, there will be adjacent meetings of IFIE’s Regional Chapter network, the IOSCO Committee 8 and possibly a second face-to-face meeting of IOSCO, OECD and IFIE leadership. I am sure the programme committee is going to come up with an excellent program and speakers.
As you are already aware, IFIE has been working on initiating two new regional chapters; Europe and Africa. We are making progress on the European front, and the Africa chapter is a very new project. It is going to take time to achieve tangible results. However, I am sure that through time, we are going to be expanding into these regions too.
There are a number of other issues that IFIE has been working on but I wanted to summarise these priority areas of our efforts for your consideration. As you would expect, the topics that I just covered are the collective work of our members. A group of our members are working on the conference, another group is working on webinars, some are focussed on key programme and strategic implementation challenges; others are addressing regional challenges. For me, this volunteer, cooperative spirit is the beauty of IFIE. Our members are actively contributing to make IFIE a better organization and strengthen their own activities in diverse ways. I have no doubt that with this spirit, 2017 will be another year of great achievements for IFIE. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your invaluable support and for being part of this wonderful organization.
For information on programming and updates for IFIE members as we start our 2017 work, please read the IFIE leadership to members letter.