Independent Review Group (IRG) is a group of independent consultants with expertise in corporate governance, risk management and financial institutions regulation. We have come together to blend our senior advisory and Board-level expertise to help firms find effective models to adjust or improve their governance and risk practices that are scale and mission-sensitive. We have not been contracted by, and are not affiliated in any way with OSFI.

The firms we represent and the individuals who can lead our teams are presented below:

Good Governance Specialists

IRI is the leading provider of good governance services to Canada’s investment fund industry. IRI supports over 20 mutual fund groups by running the Independent Review Committees (IRCs) required by NI 81-107.  IRI’s principals all serve on one or more IRCs and/or public company Boards. For the last six years, IRI has been facilitating annual self-assessment reviews by IRCs – as mandated by NI 81-107 – and is now an expert on such reviews.

W William Woods, LLB – Self-assessment Review Specialist - is an independent director on several investment fund company boards and a member of multiple Independent Review Committees.
Michele McCarthy, LLB – Banking Specialist – is a former General Counsel of Resmore Trust, UBS Bank (Canada) and Deutsche Bank AG.
Don McCreesh C.Dir - is an experienced board director with 30 years of experience as a Board Chair, Lead Director, Committee Chair and Director of a number of corporate, not for profit and charitable organizations, Don is currently Chair of Brainhunter Inc. (TSX:BH). He is also the Board Chair and Chair of the HR Committee of Educators Financial Inc. (previously known as Ontario Teachers Group).

Insurance and Governance Specialists

Walker Sorensen LLP provides advice on a wide range of corporate governance and law issues, and specializes in insurance law. Walker Sorensen’s clients include corporations, insurers and reinsurers headquartered in Canada and abroad, insurance pools and insurance distributors, including agents, brokers, retailers and professional organizations. The firm also has unique experience in conducting annual risk management audits on the leading Canadian Law firms that are members of an insurance pool.

John Walker, Partner, is a business law lawyer with over 25 years of experience advising insurers and other financial institutions on mergers, acquisitions, demutualizations and corporate governance issues.  He also conducts risk management audits for a number of leading Canadian law firms.  He has been a director of a number of financial institutions and is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Conduct Review Committee of Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, he worked as an insurance broker, reinsurance broker and reinsurance underwriter for 10 years.
  D. Murray Paton, Counsel, is a business law lawyer having over 40 years of legal experience, with a particular focus on the financial services industry and corporate governance. Murray is also an experienced board director, serving as Board Chair, Committee Chair, and Director of a number of corporate for profit and not for profit organizations. He holds the designation of ICD. D from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Murray currently serves as a director of Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada, and Temple Insurance Company, as a member of their Audit Committees and as Chair of their Conduct Review Committees. He also is a member of the Independent Review Committee of Scotia Bank’s publicly traded mutual funds.

Sean Sorensen, Partner, is a business law lawyer with 15 years of experience advising financial institutions and other corporations on a wide range of legal issues, including corporate governance matters.  He has extensive experience in dealing with OSFI, and regularly advises banks and insurers with respect to regulatory compliance matters.

Risk Management Specialists

RBI is named for our passion – and our competencies – resolving the risk conundrum for Boards, Directors and Executives.

Ron Schwartz is the managing partner of RBI. He is a seasoned executive consultant and a former PwC Consulting Partner, and IBM Executive. He has over 25 years of deep business and technology experience, including a role as an Interim CIO of a Canadian airline, where part of his direct operational responsibilities related to risk management and operational risk reduction. He has an MBA and is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).