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U of T Law establishes North America's first research chair in investor rights

The Honourable Hal Jackman’s gift establishes the J.R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance

“Among other things, I plan to investigate whether new remedies for investors, including a remedy whereby investors gain back lost funds, are warranted,” Professor Anita Anand says (photo by Johnny Guatto)

Meet the first research chair for investor rights in North America: the University of Toronto's Professor Anita Anand.

Anand, a corporate law and governance expert, is the new J. R. Kimber Chair in Investor Protection and Corporate Governance at the Faculty of Law – thanks to a generous gift from well-known philanthropist, the Hon. Hal Jackman, a law school alumnus, former U of T chancellor and former lieutenant governor of Ontario.

The Chair is named after J.R. Kimber, author of the foundational Report of the Attorney General's Committee on Securities Legislation in Ontario (March 1965), which laid the foundation for Canada’s modern securities regulatory regime. A chair is the highest academic honour for scholars, and allows them to pursue research in a high-priority area.

One of the purposes of securities regulation is to ensure that investors are protected. Yet, while advances have been made, Canada’s securities regulatory system has historically been criticized for ineffectively deterring financial market abuses.

Technological advances, such as the rise of equity crowdfunding, and high proportions of transactions in the less-regulated private markets, have increased opportunities for investment fraud and, as a consequence, the need for new regulatory tools, if investors are to be well-protected.

“We cannot and should not underestimate the importance of investor protection in today’s capital markets,” Anand said. “More than 50 per cent of Canadians are invested in our markets outside a registered retirement savings or similar plan. Ensuring that investors are adequately protected is fundamental to the well-being of our society.”  

University Professor and historian Martin Friedland worked closely with J. R. Kimber in the 1960s, as research associate to the Kimber Committee.

“If anyone was the father of investor protection in Canada, it was John R. Kimber Q.C., the first full-time chair of the Ontario Securities Commission,” Friedland said.

“As a part-time chair of the Commission and master of the Superior Court, he headed the very influential Ontario Committee – formally known as the 'Attorney-General’s Committee on Securities Legislation in Ontario,' but usually referred to as the 'Kimber Committee.' Jack Kimber, a gentle, thoughtful, pipe-smoking lawyer, subsequently worked on the Ontario legislation, which laid out detailed rules in such areas as insider trading, take-over bids, proxy solicitation, and disclosure. It is more than fitting that this new chair is being named after him.”

Anand’s research expertise focuses on capital markets regulation and corporate governance, capital-raising techniques, and systemic risk, as well as legal ethics and the corporation. Since 2010, she has served as the academic director of the Centre for the Legal Profession, leading the development of its new program on ethics in law and business. She is cross-appointed to U of T's School of Public Policy and Governance and in 2015 was appointed by Ontario’s minister of finance to the Expert Committee to Consider Financial Advisory and Planning Policy Alternatives.

“Investor protection is based on an understanding of the public interest,” explains Anand. “My research focuses on investor protection including investors' rights and remedies.

“Among other things, I plan to investigate whether new remedies for investors, including a remedy whereby investors gain back lost funds, are warranted given the potential contribution of these remedies to bolstering confidence and efficiency in our markets.” 

Edward Iacobucci, dean of the Faculty of Law, said “I am enormously grateful to Mr. Jackman for his remarkable and continuing generosity to the Faculty of Law and for his dedication to the protection of investors that motivated this gift.

“I am delighted that Professor Anand will be the inaugural chairholder. Not only is she a regular and important contributor to scholarship on investor protection and governance matters, but also to law and policy on the ground.  She will be outstanding in bringing her research to bear on legal reform in this area.”