Sale of MD Financial Management

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 60, No. 7, September 2018, Page 345 Letters

The sale of MD Financial Management to Scotiabank has been very unsettling to me and to many of my colleagues. This subsidiary of the CMA has been an integral part of the financial planning and retirement security for Canadian physicians for the past 50 years. An overwhelming number of the physicians I know supported MD Management because it felt safe. The physicians owned the company. The financial agents did not work on commission. They worked solely for us. The fees were the lowest in the investment community. It will be hard to convince us that this will not change. No company spends $2 billion without a plan for a significant return on their capital investment.

The following excerpt from the MD Financial Management website demonstrates the special relationship it has had with Canadian physicians:

Owned by the Canadian Medical Association, MD Financial Management has the only business imperative of enhancing physicians’ financial outcomes by focusing on their distinctive needs and operating in their best interests . . . MD’s Advisors work on salary, not commission. Without incentives to sell any particular product, our Advisors provide objective advice that is in our clients’ best interests . . . Our priority is for clients to meet their financial goals, not for us to maximize corporate profits.

We were all blindsided by this event. There was no debate, no proposals, and no inclusion of the membership. Why would the CMA even consider selling this trusted institution that dealt with the financial security of its members?

Questions to the CMA:

  1. Why was this done?
  2. Why was the membership not consulted? Why didn’t the CMA float the idea to the membership long before entering negotiations? (They may talk about financial confidentiality, but that is disingenuous. Confidentiality does not apply to a theoretical discussion that the CMA should have had with their colleagues prior to embarking on the strategy.)
  3. What happened to the $2 billion? What were the commissions paid? Who received them?

The CMA may wish to change its mission statement, as posted on the MD Financial Management website, as it is no longer valid: “MD Financial Management supports the CMA and enhances the CMA-PTMA membership experience by helping members achieve financial well-being from medical school through retirement.”

The CMA abdicated this responsibility and it was done in a secretive, noninclusive manner. It may have been legal, but it was also shameful.

I encourage the physicians of BC who share these concerns to communicate with the BCMJ, Doctors of BC, and the CMA. If you would like to be added to an email distribution group on this subject, please contact me at
—Ken Markel, MD

Ken Markel, MD. Sale of MD Financial Management. BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 7, September, 2018, Page(s) 345 - Letters.

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