Our announcement on May 31, 2018 that the CMA is selling MD Financial Management (MD) to Scotiabank has generated a lot of discussion. We’re glad our members are asking good questions and letting us know what they think – we wouldn’t want it any other way. It speaks to your passion and involvement with the CMA, and your interest in what happens next. And you deserve answers.
We’d like to address the four most common questions we’ve received, in more detail. And we’ll be frank, as you’ve asked us to be.
1. Why did we sell MD?
The decision to sell MD supports us in executing our strategic vision – and ensures your association is secure and supporting members and better health for decades to come. Additionally, the time was right to partner with a large bank to secure MD’s continued success, in the context of a highly competitive environment. MD has been an industry leader on many fronts and wants to continue to evolve its offer to meet the financial needs and life goals of physicians. A new owner will enable MD to enhance its full suite of products and services, across multiple channels, while still providing the objective advice it has always committed to. This next phase on MD’s journey will enable it to deliver even more value to all of Canada’s physicians and their families
2. Why weren’t members consulted?
You’re right when you say that the CMA is your association. And consultation with our members is key. Over the years members have asked for improved banking services. Combining this information with financial industry changes and our strategy, we knew we had to act. However, in this specific instance, we simply couldn’t ask the membership at large, as this public knowledge would have destabilized MD and clients, not to mention the impact this would have had on employees. The acquirer, as a publicly traded-company, also had particular considerations for when the transaction could become public.
3. What happens to the proceeds?
The CMA will create an investment board to be the steward of the proceeds for the future, in support of the CMA’s vision and mission. MD was not created as a cooperative or a publicly-traded company. As set out in the CMA Act of Incorporation from 1909, the proceeds of the sale are to the CMA. Board members received no bonusses as a result of this sale. Moving forward, we will be working closely with members to map out the best areas to effect change and to create programs to support physicians and better health.
4. How can I know you made this decision in the best interest of your members?
Trust and loyalty are so important to us as a medical profession, and these values were key in the CMA board’s deliberations. While the announcement surprised many of our members and clients, the board was diligent in using a principle-based approach, considered the long-term benefits of this sale and relied on the guidance of many experts. With Scotiabank, we have a legal agreement that acknowledges and protects our advocacy and policy independence, so we can continue to be your voice on national issues affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. Scotiabank has committed to preserving MD’s unique physician-specific approach to financial services and will maintain the MD team, recognizing the in-depth knowledge of our highly skilled staff. MD will operate as a distinct, stand-alone brand within Scotia Wealth Management®. MD advisors will retain their independence, and will continue to work on salary, not commission. This means that MD clients will continue to receive the independent, objective and client-centric financial advice and outstanding service they need to meet their unique financial goals. We hired the best legal minds to make this agreement for the benefit of our members. Moving forward, an advisory committee made up of an equal number of representatives from Scotiabank and the CMA is being created as part of the collaboration, and the CEOs of both Scotiabank and the CMA are equally accountable to resolve any issues that may emerge.
We hope this email has helped answer some of your questions. And we’re sure there will be more to come in the days ahead. Please keep asking – and we’ll continue to do our best to provide timely answers. We invite you to visit our website where we’ll continue to provide more detailed information about this decision. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, please reach out to yourvoice@ cma.ca, and we’ll respond to you directly.
Let us assure you that although this was not an easy decision, we believe it was the right one. We’re positioning our association to be able to take real action on issues that matter to us all – physician burnout, support for our medical students and residents, and improved health care – and to be a strong voice for medicine for decades to come.
Dr. Brian Brodie
Chair, Board of Directors