our President and CEO
Innovating a Better Start for Canadian Families
This past year was a momentous one for CST. We saw many of our initiatives from our Vision 2020 strategy come to life shifting our focus from a culture of transformation to solidifying innovation as the new norm at CST. This clear focus has helped us to further propel our mission of helping Canadian families achieve a better start in life by providing them with the financial resources they need to pursue a post-secondary education.
Success in innovation
Through the power of innovation and technology the newest member of the CST family, CST Spark, Canada’s first digital RESP company launched across the country in the month of November after a successful six-month pilot in the province of Ontario. As a 60-year-old start up, it was critical for us to adopt a growth mindset, leveraging new and experimental approaches to identify how best to connect with new generations and segments of Canadian families. We invested in the right tools and attracted new talent with digital capabilities to ensure our online-only offering met the needs of today’s education savings investor. As more and more Canadian families turn to digital investing, we wanted to be prepared to provide a new generation of families and those families where it isn’t as simple or easy to find a knowledgeable representative to explain and provide a RESP.
Success in our leadership
A key part of our success was ensuring we had the right talent to lead our transformation journey. In 2019, we continued to grow and strengthen our executive team by hiring Paul Steedman as our company’s first ever Chief Technology Officer and Bernadette MacPherson as our Vice-President of Digital Sales. Paul has played a key role in moving our technology strategy forward ensuring continued innovation and growth while Bernadette has been integral in recruiting our digital sales team at CST Spark using a start up and fin-tech approach to keep us innovative and fresh. We also welcomed a new Chief Financial Officer, Christopher Ferris, with extensive experience in previous roles within CST and the investment fund industry.
Success in growth
In February 2019, we hit a major financial milestone, surpassing $5.2 billion in Assets Under Management as of October 31, 2019. As the organization gets ready to celebrate 60 years in 2020 this feat shows our remarkable ability to stay focused on principal protection, long-term growth and transparency when it comes to helping Canadian families invest safely in their child’s education.
I’m especially proud of what we were able to achieve with our group savings plan product this year, at a time of unprecedented change in our industry over 17,500 new RESP beneficiaries started their education journey with us. And while this plan is performing well, we’ve been working hard at making significant enhancements which we can’t wait to share with you in the New Year.
Success in building a better life and better future
We are also continuing our journey as an organization rooted in fulfilling its dual-purpose mandate, not only of building sustainable business growth but propelling it into tangible actions that can help solve some of Canada’s biggest social, economic, environmental and educational challenges. It’s an ambitious aspiration that we plan to activate into a movement starting in 2020 as we seek to expand the value of our mission across the country and into more communities. We are committed to inspiring the minds of the next generation of Canadians and ensuring every family has access to a quality education. It is through education that we can begin to find solutions to some of our world’s most compelling sustainability challenges.
I have many people to thank for their contributions this year, including our employees and sales representatives for their dedication, our Board of Directors for their ongoing guidance and support and our partners for their commitment to driving our mission forward.
To our customers – thank you for trusting us with your most valued asset, your children, I look forward to hearing their stories of future success.
Sherry MacDonald President and CEO Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, C.S.T. Consultants Inc., CST Spark