Ashley Redmond: Here at Morningstar Canada, we are gearing up for the 2012 Morningstar Canadian Investment Awards being held right here in Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York on November 28. I am here with Salman, who is actually chairing the event this year.
Salman, thanks so much for joining me.
Salman Ahmed: Thanks for having me.
Redmond: So, the awards are actually in their 18th year and it's a black tie gala event that year-after-year recognizes standout performers in the industry.
Ahmed: That's right. The intention of the award is to award excellence in the Canadian investment industry. That's what we try to do with the different kinds of awards that we hand out throughout the night. Although this is an annual award like you mentioned, the focus of the juries is to award consistency in process and performance – so although it's considered an annual award – it really is awarding long-term performance.
Redmond: I know the awards cover a lot of bases, so why don't we start with the five Morningstar selected awards.
Ahmed: Sure. The Morningstar awards are voted on by a jury of just Morningstar analysts. There are five Morningstar awards this year; there is the Fund Company of Year, the ETF Provider of the Year, Best Domestic Equity Manager of the Year, Foreign Equity Manager of the Year, and Fixed Income Manager of the Year.
Redmond: What other types of awards are being handed out?
Ahmed: Well, we have category-specific awards too for the mutual funds, pool funds, and hedge funds. These awards are voted on by a jury which includes both Morningstar and non-Morningstar analysts. For example, the mutual fund category has the Best Canadian Equity Fund of the Year, Best Canadian Fixed Income Fund of the Year, to name just a few.There are also submission-based awards; such as the Career Achievement Award; ETF Initiative Award and Best Use of Technology.
Redmond: For people watching – and for people who attend the event regularly, they always ask, is there anything new, are there any new awards to look forward to?
Ahmed: Yeah, we are giving ETFs, a bigger focus this year, so we have four ETF awards this year in total. We have three new ETF awards. There are two category awards; the Best Equity ETF of the Year, Best Fixed Income ETF of the Year, and as I mentioned earlier the ETF Provider. Those are the three new awards, combine that with the ETF Initiative of the Year and we're going to have four in total this year.
Redmond: Investors will love that.
Redmond: I guess there are a couple other things that we should mention; the first one is our host this year, Peter Mansbridge.
Ahmed: Yeah, he did a great job a couple of years ago and we're really happy to have him back. I'm sure he'll put on a great show.
Redmond: Great. Another aspect of the gala is the charity that we're partnering up with and I know that's really important to you, so why don't we talk about our charity -- once again this year is MusiCounts.
Ahmed: Yeah, we've partnered up with MusiCounts for quite some time now. The mission of MusiCounts is to ensure that Canadian children have access to music programs through their school. So, the money that the fund companies pay for their submission-based awards actually goes to the charity. In addition to that, there are items that are auctioned throughout the night and the money from that auction also goes to the charity.
Redmond: That's great. Salman, I know you've been working really hard on the awards and there are a lot of things that you are excited for. But in terms of the food, and the entire night, is there something that you are really looking forward to?
Ahmed: Well, this is just my second year attending the awards. I have to say something that I'm particularly interested in is the chocolate fountain. It's something that I had only seen in movies and heard of, but to see it live in person last year was outstanding and I'm really relieved that we are going to have it again this year.
Redmond: So, we will see you and the chocolate fountain, November 28 at the Fairmont Royal York. If you need tickets or need more information about the awards, go to investmentawards.com.