New treasurer’s association launches in Canada

By Kate McCaffery | February 28, 2005 | Last updated on February 28, 2005
2 min read

(February 28, 2005) The newest association on the street doesn’t cater directly to financial advisors, but it could have an impact on market practices, that is if it gets past being just another association.

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) of Canada is primarily aimed at treasury and finance types, the cash handlers in the industry. These are front-line workers when it comes to compliance and settlement issues, but the group, to date, didn’t have an association of its own.

“I’m very excited about AFP,” says Peter Copestake, senior vice president and treasurer of Manulife Financial and founding chair of the new organization. “Whenever there are major accounting changes or convergence type issues, securities issues, accountants have been able to talk, lawyers have been able to talk, there are all these different professional groups,” but he says there is no voice for corporate finance and treasury professionals whose working lives are directly affected by public policy and accounting edicts. “It might have a profound impact on market practice,” he says.

At the present, the association’s mandate is to raise the stature and visibility of its members (500 in Canada), and to provide training, networking opportunities and professional development programs. Among them, the AFP plans to add to the alphabet soup of designations out there by creating the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation sometime in 2005.

“There are people who do this stuff every day, but this is a standard you can get where they understand clearing systems, operations, treasury workstations and other market dynamic that affect how you settle cash,” says Copestake. “It’s important that we have people who do that effectively at both ends of the transaction and in the middle. Then you can create efficiencies.”

It remains to be seen if the association will weigh in on discussion and issues directly affecting the financial services industry, but Copestake says along with large corporations like Canadian Tire and Loblaws, it counts most of the banks, and companies like Manulife among its members.

“If everybody is dealing with different standards then you end up with a very difficult process and view of the world. You always need to accommodate and make changes. But if you can find a better way to receive funds, and it meshes better with the way people send funds, it’s a good thing,” he says. “To the extent that there are ways to produce better, smarter, faster ways to do things efficiently, I think we will have some kind of voice.”

The AFP of Canada was created with the support of the Association for Financial Professionals in Maryland. Roughly one-third of the global association’s membership is made up of financial services practitioners. In addition to continuing education, publications and career development, the organization also works on public policy research, development of industry standards and representation before legislators and regulators.

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Kate McCaffery