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Toronto (May 8, 2003) Advocis and Environics Research Group today announced that they will combine efforts to design and execute a comprehensive market research program about the Canadian retail financial advisory industry. This joint effort will position the two organizations as the “go-to” resources for anyone seeking insight around the evolution of Canada�s retail-level financial advice industry. A study planned for this spring will measure advisor perception of mutual fund and life insurance companies.

“I’m delighted with this research partnership because it represents a considerable opportunity for Advocis and Environics to benefit from each other�s competencies and resources,” said Advocis president and CEO Steve Howard.

Environics Research Group president and CEO Barry Watson noted that his organization was bringing to the table “more than 30 years of experience and expertise in planning and executing innovative market research in countries around the world; historic data relating to both investors� and financial advisors� perceptions of financial products and suppliers; insight into consumers� perceptions of financial advisors; and strong capabilities in understanding investors and the factors that drive their behaviour.”

The first Advocis-Environics initiative will be a wealth management study this spring, which will measure fund and life insurance advisors� perceptions of the firms they deal with and offer participating companies actionable insights into increasing advisor loyalty. The study is based on Environics� successful Mutual Fund Ranking Study but will be expanded for the first time to include life insurance advisors allowing life insurance companies to gauge how they compare with each other and with mutual fund companies in terms of advisor perception.

Advocis� 16 corporate partners will serve as a key group of participants in the wealth management study and were consulted on its design.

“Manulife looks forward to seeing the feedback from this research, since we continually look for input from advisors on how we can work together to serve our clients across Canada,” said Phil Walton, Manulife Financial vice-president, Canadian distribution. “The research will help us get a broader national picture of how we can continuously improve our relationships with Canadians and their advisors.”

“Everyone wins in this relationship,” noted Howard. “Our members will benefit from the consumer-based and industry-related research we plan to do together, Advocis� corporate partners will benefit from the insights into the advisor-company relationship, and Advocis as an association will be better positioned to serve its members as a result of the research insights we will gain from Environics,” he added.

Advocis is Canada’s largest association of financial advisors, with members in 50 chapters across Canada. Advocis members adhere to a strict Code of Professional Conduct, meet ongoing continuing education requirements, and are committed to putting the interests of their clients first. Visit our Web site at www.advocis.ca.

Environics Research Group is a leading market firm with a comprehensive financial services practice, including extensive experience measuring the perceptions of financial advisors and financial consumers. With today�s announcement, Environics becomes Advocis� official marketing research agency of record.