Financial Industry Associations

Toronto is home to North America’s second biggest financial sector; Canada’s commercial banking industry alone totals $251.9 billion as of 2021. A market this size, employing some 1.2 million people, has many associations and groups for professionals and companies to join. Let’s look at some of the most important of these.

Top Financial Industry Associations in Canada

Annual Membership
Fee varies based on business type and size
All of Canada and International

What is a Financial Industry Association?

Industry associations exist for almost every area of work, and the financial sector is no exception. These groups come in various forms, but all are typically dedicated to one or more of the following goals:

  • Providing historical information about the industry   
  • Providing news/updates/forecasts/analysis for the industry
  • Providing industry-specific training
  • Providing professional development opportunities
  • Providing resources
  • Providing networking opportunities
  • Promoting job opportunities
  • Collaborating with regulators
  • Ensuring member reputability
  • Promoting ethical work practices 
  • Promoting industry interests on a wider scale

Types of Financial Industry Association

Canada (and the world) has multiple different types of financial industry association, including:

  • Free membership associations
  • Paid membership associations
  • Associations for individuals
  • Associations for companies
  • Canadian associations
  • International associations
  • Professional development associations
  • Leadership and innovation associations
  • Regulatory-focussed associations

Financial Industry Associations by Focus

As the financial industry is so varied, the different associations available can be split into focus. Let’s look at each major sector of the market in turn:

Lending Associations

  • Canadian Lenders Association - for large Canadian lending companies of all types. Provides education, collaborates with regulators, and promotes ethical lending practices.
  • Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association - for mortgage agents and brokers. Provides access to resources, cooperates on initiatives, and collaborates to identify and solve industry-specific issues.
  • Mortgage Professionals Canada - for mortgage professionals. Provides a professional advocacy network, education, training, networking opportunities, and proprietary industry analysis.
  • Canadian Consumer Finance Association - represents small scale, short term lenders such as payday lenders. Works with governments to ensure appropriate legislation is in place to protect consumers, while protecting consumers’ access to short term small loans.
  • Secured Finance Network - works with asset-based lending and factoring companies. Provides access to industry research, conferences, networking events, educational programs, training, and professional development tools. 
  • Canadian Finance and Leasing Association - works with equipment financing and vehicle leasing industry specialists across Canada. Provides educational opportunities and advocacy, access to networking events and professional development, and key industry research. 
  • Canadian Securities Lending Association - for securities lenders such as custodian banks, beneficial owners, asset managers and brokers, as well as associated professionals such as those in the legal, tax and regulatory fields. Offers guidance on best practices, advocacy, education, representation in the broader financial markets, and works to ensure a stable marketplace. 

Investment Associations

  • Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada - for mutual funds and mutual fund dealers. Provides self-regulation, continuing education, membership directories and news.
  • Investment Industry Association of Canada - for investment dealers, media, government and regulatory bodies. Provides access to resources, such as industry data, priority publications, webinars and tools and templates.
  • Responsible Investment Association - for asset managers, asset owners, advisors, service providers and other investment professionals. Provides education, job news, networking opportunities, professional development, and advocacy.
  • Portfolio Management Association of Canada - for investment management firms. Provides events, information, seminars, networking, surveys on operational, compliance and best practice issues, resources and insurance.
  • Alternative Investment Management Association - for hedge fund managers, pension fund managers and consultants, institutional investors, administrators, auditors, lawyers, prime brokers and other service providers. Provides resources, networking, education and events.

Banking Associations

  • Canadian Bankers Association - represents large foreign and domestic banks. Provides operational support, information pertinent to the industry, and are able to contribute towards the development of public policy. 

Accounting Associations

  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants - for certified Chartered Management Accountants. Provides industry insights, career development, advocacy, networking and education.
  • Institute of Internal Auditors - for Canadian auditors. Provides professional development,  events, advocacy for the profession, job opportunities, and involvement in national and international IIA committees.
  • CPA Canada - for professional accountants of all types. Provides career support, news, resources, professional development and more.
  • Association of Tax and Accounting Professionals - for professional accounting and tax consultants operating independently across Canada. Provides professional development, continuing education, and peer-to-peer networking.
  • Canadian Insurance Accountants Association - for professionals employed by an insurance/reinsurance company, insurance/reinsurance broker or insurance agency. Provides professional development and networking opportunities.
  • Canadian Institute of Actuaries - for actuarial professionals. Provides education, professional development, oversight and regulation, research and resources.

Insurance Associations


Associations for Specific Individuals


Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Industry Associations

Why should I join a professional association?

Professional associations offer a range of benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Educational resources
  • Industry-specific research
  • Networking opportunities
  • Training, seminars and events
  • Professional development tools and guidance
  • Accreditations or association-specific certifications (useful for PR purposes)
  • Advocacy
  • Collaboration opportunities with others in the field
  • A unified public voice for industry-specific issues 
  • The ability to inform and influence public policy for the industry
  • Regulatory oversight

Every association is different, and the benefits versus the cost of each must be weighed against your company’s or professionals’ needs.

How much does it cost to join a professional association?

Professional associations usually come with some form of membership fee (though there are some free associations). The cost varies a lot, depending on the size and type of association, as well as the type of membership being sought. Many groups have tiered membership levels (e.g. affiliate membership versus full membership) and differing options for companies versus individuals.

Are professional associations in Canada regulated?

Technically no, most professional associations in Canada are not formally regulated, unless they are officially recognized as representing the industry by the government (for example, the Canadian Bankers Association). However, almost all associations within financial services have indirect regulation by virtue of their business; all financial service providers in the country have to follow specific laws aimed at keeping consumers safe. And as most professional lenders associations are for specific company types or individuals in this sector, then it follows that the association’s members are governed by these laws. It’s also worth noting that most professional associations have their own internal by-laws and codes of conduct which their members must follow.