What are Independent Review Committees (IRCs)
If you have worked in the Investment or related service industries & have never heard of an IRC – you are not alone. But what might interest you to know is some board-ready Canadians see IRCs as a great opportunity to be involved in a corporate board-like body that serves a special purpose.
If you Google 'IRC', Wikipedia will explain that "an Independent Review Committee (IRC) is a special committee that is required to be part of the governance structure of every investment fund that is offered to the public in Canada."
Essentially, an IRC's role is to provide independent oversight and impartial judgment on all decisions involving a conflict of interest faced by the fund manager to ensure that funds are organized and operated in the interests of fund investors, and not in the interests of fund managers.
Improving fund governance has been a priority for Canadian securities regulators since the 1990s. But it wasn't until 2002, that the CSA released a vision for a renewed framework for regulating mutual funds and fund managers and, after public consultation, published the final form that came into force in 2007.
IRCs are currently unique to the investment fund business in Canada, as other countries have dealt with the conflict of interest involved in running public investment funds in different ways. In the US, mutual funds have been required to have independent directors ever since 1935.