New Council Orientation: Tips for Treasurers
New Council orientation sessions are critical to treasurers, given that new members will be making major budget decisions shortly after taking office.
Elected to four-year terms, Councils will need to understand planning for long-term investing. They may also have misconceptions about financial markets.
Innisfil Chief Financial Officer, Mike Melinyshyn, says orientation is a great opportunity to develop good working relationships with council members and build trust. Key tips include:
- Don’t shy away from discussing risk. Emphasize that a more diverse portfolio that includes equities helps reduce risk and produces better results over the long-term. This ultimately reduces the burden on taxpayers for capital funding and ensures that savings are not losing buying-power over the long-term.
- Set expectations on investment reporting. Explain that investments for the long-term are reported annually. These investments will fluctuate throughout the year and quarterly reporting will reinforce short term thinking.
- Explain how asset management planning shapes capital budgets. Provide a picture of what the municipality needs to fund capital projects and to keep infrastructure in good repair.
- Explain that municipal investments are highly regulated by the Province. Provincial regulations aim to manage risk and safety guard tax dollars by restricting municipal investments to pre-approved products or if investing more broadly, ensuring the strategy is guided by investment experts. ONE Investment offers products compliant with provincial requirements, including ONE’s Canadian Equity Fund. It has also developed a Prudent Investor program to allow municipalities of any size to invest more broadly in global and Canadian products, while still complying with provincial rules.
Melinyshyn says that the biggest benefit for resource-strapped municipalities is ONE’s Investment Advisory Service, which provides investment expertise and resources, so municipal staff can focus on managing operations and budgets.
Mike Melinyshyn is a member of the ONE Joint Investment Board, which oversees municipalities investing under the Prudent Investor standard. It includes both institutional investing experts and municipal finance staff to oversee each member municipality’s strategy and portfolio.