The Alternative Investment Management Association’s chief operating officer James Burron is leaving the organization to start a new, “complementary” alternative investment association.

After more than six years at AIMA, Burron is launching the Canadian Association of Alternative Strategies and Assets with Caroline Chow, a former AIMA associate who left the organization in December. Originally, the two intended to break off from AIMA to work for a fund, Burron told, but they decided to form the new organization instead. “We just loved the association side,” he says.

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Burron characterizes the new association as “complementary” to AIMA. He says 50 potential members have reached out, 21 of which have committed to join. The latter group includes investment managers and service providers, along with global firms and chief investment officers of major companies, he says.

While AIMA has a Canadian office, it’s headquartered in London and was founded by a group of European managers in 1990. As a result, “we’ve had [AIMA] members say there should be a Canadian organization,” says Burron. CAASA will be unique because “having a group that is of Canadians and for Canadians first and foremost enables its constituents the freedom to create solutions and engage in dialogue as appropriate nationally and within the distinct market segments,” he says.

An AIMA spokesperson said in an email that “James did a great job in growing our Canadian membership, launching the AIMA Canada Investor Forum and developing many Canada-focused programs and activities in recent years.”

Running a not-for-profit association like AIMA involves working with portfolio and hedge fund managers to address their investment and distribution challenges, and looking at trends in the real estate, private equity and lending, and alternative fund space, says Burron. His work with CAASA, which will also be a not-for-profit, will involve more of the same.

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He and Chow will take the opportunity to “ask members what they want” as they build the association, including their desired committees. “At AIMA, we had 12 committees with 100 meetings per year,” with members from the distribution, back-office, legal and fund management sides, he says.

CAASA is still working out how it will be structured and what it will offer to members. “We put together a budget over the weekend and we’ll go from there,” says Burron. It will have an advisory board and a number of subject-matter committees, “constituted and mandated over the next short while,” he says.

Over the next year, they’ll work on building the organization while monitoring investment trends and regulatory developments, says Burron.

This article originally appeared on the website of Benefits Canada’s companion publication,

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Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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