Canadian IIO with 500,000 members and a $20 million
annual budget can be formed
WHAT IS THE INDIVIDUAL
INVESTOR ORGANIZATION (IIO)?
The Individual Investor Organization (IIO) is a
proposed federally-chartered, non-profit organization
designed to represent and educate investors on
investment issues worldwide.
The IIO proposal is based upon Citizen Utility Boards
(CUBs) which have been established in four states in
the U.S. In these states, utilities were
required to enclose a one-page pamphlet in their
billing envelopes inviting people to join the
CUB. About five percent of consumers usually
join the CUB at a $10-15 annual membership fee.
CUBs are independent, broad-based watchdog groups that
are run democratically by their members and represent
consumers' interests in the marketplace. For
example, in Illinois the CUB has 150,000 members, a
$1.5 million annual budget, and has saved consumers
about $9 billion since 1983 by opposing rate hikes by
According to a
64% of Canadians support the creation of the IIO using
the pamphlet method, while only 27% oppose it.
In 2006, an Ontario
legislative committee recommended that the Ontario
government seriously consider establishing an IIO
using the pamphlet method.
In addition, a
made up of 31 citizen groups with a total membership
of 3.5 million Canadians supports the creation of the
HOW WILL THE IIO BE SET
UP AND HOW WILL IT WORK?
To set up the IIO, the Canadian federal government
must require federally incorporated financial
institutions (banks, trusts, insurance companies,
pension plans and, working with each provincial
government, pension plans and mutual fund companies)
and a few other large corporations (that most
investors hold shares in) to send a one-page pamphlet
in the bi-annual and/or annual reports they send to
their 10 million individual shareholders.
institutions and corporations could volunteer to
enclose the pamphlet, and as long as enough large
institutions and corporations volunteered enough
individual investors would receive the pamphlet to
make the IIO viable.
The pamphlet will describe
the IIO and invite individual investors to join at an
annual membership fee of about $40 (with a lower fee
for people with low incomes). The government can
either lend or grant to the IIO the funds needed to
print the first pamphlet. After the first
pamphlet, however, the IIO will pay all the costs of
the pamphlet. As a result, the IIO can be set up
at little or no cost to government or the financial
If only five percent of financial institution
investors join the IIO, it will have 500,000 members
and a $20 million annual budget. With these
resources and large membership base, the IIO will be
strong enough to hold financial institutions and large
corporations for their activities both in Canada and
The IIO will be a democratic organization, controlled
by its members through the election of regional
delegates and the IIO's board of directors. The
board will hire the IIO's professional staff and
determine the group's policies.
WHAT WILL THE IIO
The IIO will hire economists, experts, organizers,
lobbyists and attorneys to represent investors.
The IIO will also educate
investors through price surveys, public forums, and
WHY IS THE IIO NEEDED IN
In the past 20 years, the big five Canadian banks
have obtained control of a majority of investment
banking assets (including mutual funds) in Canada, and
now operate in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Together with other large financial institutions and
corporations, they offer more than 1,500 investment
products and services.
The IIO will provide easily accessible information
about investment products and responsible investing,
encouraging competition in the marketplace and better
service for all investors.
And while several groups try to track what Canadian
banks and large corporations are doing worldwide, they
all lack adequate funding and resources. With a
$20 million annual budget, and 500,000 members, the
IIO will have the funding needed to do the job.
Individual investors are an important part of Canada's
financial system, but their voice is not strong enough
to be heard by government, especially given the
enormous resources and strength of the investment and
corporate Canada lobby. The IIO will also act as
an umbrella group, giving investors an organized voice
for their interests.