Asset owners & managers event Mercer Global Investment Forums 2022 - Canada
8-9 November 2022
2022 Theme: Metamorphosis – redrawing the investments map together
Join us at Mercer’s Canada Global Investment Forum in November to discuss the evolution that will define markets and investing for many years to come. The Forums bring together asset owners, asset managers and senior investment professionals to discuss current and emerging themes impacting investors. They also provide an opportunity for you to catch-up with peers and expand your knowledge and professional network.
Agenda – what you can expect
The Forum offers a day of main sessions, breakout and keynote addresses, as well as hundreds of 40-minute separate virtual manager-led sessions. Some of the topics that will be covered in the agenda include the latest themes and opportunities, sustainable investing, private markets, transformational investing and more. Watch this space for details on the agenda.
Tuesday, November 8th
Times are in Toronto Local Time (UTC -4)
1:30pm – 2:00pm | Registration
2:00pm – 5:00pm | Asset Manager Briefing
5:00pm – 7:00pm | Welcome reception
Wednesday, November 9th
Times are in Toronto Local Time (UTC -4)
MC: Geneviève Gauvin
Jo Holden, Global Head of Investment Research Yusuke Khan, Investments Leader, Canada
Our themes and opportunities summarize our views of the forces driving markets, economies and client practices over the next three to five years and beyond. The past five years have been marked by an extraordinary period of change driven by the global pandemic, inflation shock and elevated geopolitical tensions. Although the specific events that occurred seemed to come out of the blue, some of the underlying pressures these shocks to the system released were indeed identifiable in advance. In our session, we look back on events and how our themes and opportunities have evolved. In the context of the regime change we’re currently experiencing, does this feel like “Deja New”?
Moderator: Rachel Volynsky, Chief Investment Officer, Canada
The following has defined the regime of the past 20 to 40 years, but the future looks different:
1. Moderate-to-low rates that were trending down are giving way to higher rates, with five rate hikes from The U.S. Federal Reserve in 2022 and more to come.
2. Moderate-to-low inflation is giving way to the highest inflation rate in 40 years, which might be peaking but isn’t disappearing.
3. Rising corporate profits in times of great moderation are giving way to labour and commodity cost pressures and less efficient supply chains.
4. A period of heightened volatility is displacing rising markets with tempered volatility.
Hence, many new structural trends are shifting, which will influence asset allocation for years to come.
The 2021–2022 period has been an inflection point amid post-pandemic recoveries, rising rates, geopolitical risk, and tighter fiscal and monetary policy in the face of inflationary pressures. Against this backdrop, investors are re-examining their portfolio priorities and strategies to capture alpha opportunities while continuing to manage the volatility. This panel delivers timely insights on the markets, changing portfolio strategies, and the evolving role of traditional and alternatives asset classes.
Daniella Vega, Senior Investment Consultant
Jonathan Croft, Senior Investment Consultant
We are currently charting untested waters in which a pandemic, war, inflation and tightening financial conditions have had significant impact on public markets. Looking forward, uncertainty remains as to the direction of capital markets: recession, soft landing and stagflation are scenarios investors continue to weigh. Through this volatility and uncertainty, an opportunity arises for investors to revisit outlooks, risk tolerance and investment strategies in order to navigate markets and ensure the long-term resiliency and sustainability of their portfolios.
Ciarán Lynch, Equity Portfolio Manager
Irfan Hassan, Senior Investment Consultant
As the world emerges from the pandemic, China is no longer a consensus buy. Despite lingering COVID-19 effects, perceived geopolitical risks and a clouded economic outlook, we believe China exposure remains an important part of an institutional portfolio. We discuss our best thinking for Canadian investors allocating to China across equities and fixed income.
Jean-Pierre Talon, Senior Investment Consultant
Karen Lockridge, Director, ESG Investing, Canada Post
Climate change and the energy transition will affect the value of financial assets — over the short, mid and long term. The impact will vary depending on the pathway to a low-carbon economy. In this session, we explore how Canada Post Pension Plan used scenario testing to measure the potential impact of climate-change-related risks on the pension plan’s key metrics and discuss the key elements of their climate action plan.
Rekha Owen, Alternative Investments Leader, Canada
David Willers, Senior Investment Consultant
Investors globally are grappling with how to balance their investment portfolios to reflect both recent macro shocks — most notably, high rates of inflation — alongside the desire to position portfolios to reflect long-term trends, such as the transition to a lower-carbon economy. Many investors feel torn between addressing the more immediate concerns of rising prices at the expense of longer-term sustainability considerations. But we believe that through selective alternative investments, it’s potentially possible to evolve portfolios to target both of these objectives and build portfolios that will demonstrate resilience to both rising prices and the impact of climate change.
In this session, we hear from colleagues across Mercer’s Alternatives practice who showcase how specific assets are positioned not only to survive but also to thrive in these changing times.
Margaret MacMillan, Historian, Professor, and Author
Gilles Lavoie, Senior Investment Consultant
Few would have predicted a ground war in Europe in 2022, thinking — perhaps naively — that our international order had evolved beyond that. How does war shape human society, and how can the study of war inform how we build peace sustainably? Our keynote speaker, Margaret MacMillan, makes the case that the study of war is as important to understanding human behaviour as the history of trade, science and human geography and can inform investors exposed to geopolitical risks and global pressures.
Brett Jennings, Senior DC Consultant
Stéphanie Mariamo, Senior Investment Consultant
With economic uncertainty and financial market turbulence weighing heavily on an already unprepared population, being financially well is now everyone’s problem. For employers, supporting the financial wellness of their employees is no longer an aspirational objective. The sustainability and efficacy of their retirement programs now depend on employees being able to engage with all aspects of their finances. For employees, support for wellness is no longer considered a perk — it’s a non-negotiable component of the employment contract.
1. Evolution of target date funds
Roddy MacKenzie, Senior Investment Consultant
Jean-Philippe Côté, DC Investment Consultant
Dasha Zuck, DC Investment Consultant
The purpose of target date funds in a defined contribution (DC) or savings plan is to achieve a retirement goal for those who do not have the desire, time or investing knowledge. As a result, a target date fund is dynamic in nature. However, the evolution of products available to Canadian investors has been static over the past 10 years. With a record number of investors joining the capital markets each year and millions of dollars accumulating within Canadian DC plans, financial literacy and investor preferences need to evolve, and target date funds may lead the way for investors. In this session we take you on a journey and explore how target date funds may evolve and the possible directions of this evolution. From sustainability to supporting retirement transition and income payment, we believe the fate of Canadian innovation starts with the evolution of target date funds.
2. Future-proofing your defined contribution plan
Linda Do, Senior DC Investment Consultant
Joseph Bevilacqua, Senior Investment Consultant
Jean-Nicolas Royer, Investment Consultant
Although defined contribution workplace plans have been steadily growing since the 1990s, the number of Canadians that now solely rely on these programs for retirement is translating into rapid evolution and change. This session explores how far we have come as a market in a short period, where we will evolve next and the challenges ahead that will require your attention. From retirement transition to sustainable investing and optimizing the right asset mix — if you have questions about what to expect of the new norm and whether you’re ready for it, this session helps you visualize the future and plan for a more resilient strategy to support the next generation of retirees with improved retirement outcomes.
3. Impact investing — The future of finance?
Elena Demopoulos, Sustainable Investment Consultant
Marie-Léa Girouard, Investment Consultant
As the number, magnitude and urgency of the world’s environmental, social and governance problems grow, so the motivation increases to find ways for risk, return and the real world to co-exist. Impact investing goes some way to addressing this co-existence challenge by targeting the interconnections between investments and the effect they have on people’s lives and our environment. In this session, we discuss how impact investing has evolved over time, how institutional investors are incorporating these ideas within their portfolios and the potential opportunity set for Canadian investors.
4. Endowments and foundations disbursement quota increase
Peter Hallett, Senior Investment Consultant
Ryan Pollice, Senior Investment Consultant
Canadian endowments and foundations are facing an environment of higher market volatility and inflation, with many unknowns. This uncertainty comes at a time when the disbursement quota increase may also necessitate a change in spending policy for some. This underscores the importance of periodic asset allocation and spending policy studies to ensure alignment with mission. In this session, we explore how Canadian and global endowments and foundations are facing these challenges, along with actions that may improve outcomes.
Bonnie Foley-Wong, Head of Sustainable Investment for Canada
Lynn Logan, Vice-President, Operations & Finance, Western University
Sustainable investment is rising on the agendas of many institutional investors. Although there are many approaches to sustainability, leaders and pacesetters in sustainable investment inspire others and demonstrate the possibilities and potential by:
• Addressing the challenge of balancing financial, sustainability and broader strategic objectives of their organizations
• Advancing how environmental, social and governance factors are woven into their decision-making processes
• Listening to stakeholders and communicating their sustainability ambitions
This discussion focuses on experiences and practical examples offered by a leading institution in Canada on how to meet institutional obligations while navigating and managing stakeholders’ expectations and contributing to solutions for some of the grand challenges of our time.
Tuesday, November 15th
Wednesday, November 16th
Meet the speakers
Each Forum features top thought leaders from within Mercer and the investment community and renowned experts shaping the way we think. We look forward to sharing these names with you soon.
Historian, Professor, and Author
Margaret is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Toronto and an professor emeritus of international history at Oxford University. She was Provost of Trinity College, Toronto, from 2002 to 2007 and Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, from 2007 to 2017. Margaret is currently a trustee of the Imperial War Museum. Her research specializes in British imperial history and the international history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Publications include War: How Conflict Shaped Us, Paris 1919 and The War That Ended Peace. She gave the CBC’s Massey Lectures in 2015 and the BBC’s Reith Lectures in 2018.
Margaret’s awards include the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction and the Governor-General’s Literary Award. She has honorary degrees from several universities and is an honorary Fellow of the British Academy. She is also a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Companion of Honour (UK).
Director, ESG Investing, Canada Post
Karen is the Director, ESG Investing, at Canada Post Corporation (CPC) Pension Plan. Karen is responsible for developing and implementing the CPC Pension Plan’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategy and risk management framework.
Before joining Canada Post in December 2019, Karen was a member of Mercer’s global Responsible Investment Team. Karen was a member of the core team that developed Mercer’s Investing in a Time of Climate Change — The Sequel (2019) research report. During her 25-year career at Mercer, Karen has held a variety of leadership roles in defined benefit risk management, strategy execution, knowledge management and operations. In addition to her time at Mercer, Karen spent 18 months in 2010 and 2011 as Director, Pension and Benefits, at BMO Financial Group.
Karen was named one of Canada’s 2019 Clean 50 leaders in the field of sustainable capitalism. She is on the board of directors at QUEST Canada, which is accelerating smart energy communities across Canada, and is a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Asset Owner Technical Advisory Committee.
Karen graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science (with honours) in applied mathematics in 1990. She is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Vice-President, Operations & Finance, Western University
Lynn is the Vice-President (Operations & Finance) at Western University in London, Canada. Before her current role, Lynn served as the Associate Vice-President (Finance & Facilities) at Western and prior to that was the Associate Vice-President (Financial Services).
Before she arrived at Western in 2005, Lynn was Vice-President, Finance & Corporate Services, at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario.
As Vice-President of Operations & Finance (O&F), Lynn’s portfolio includes overall responsibility for financial services; facilities management and capital planning; University legal counsel; housing, hospitality and retail services; campus security and emergency services; and internal audit. The O&F portfolio encompasses more than 1,900 leaders and staff and oversees approximately $1.5 billion in financial activities, in excess of $4 billion in investment assets, and the maintenance and operations of 100 buildings on campus, with more than $300 million in projects under construction.
Lynn currently serves as Chair of the Council of Senior Administrative Officers for the Council of Ontario Universities; Chair of Western’s Investment Committee; and Past Chair, Board of Directors, United Way London and Middlesex; and she is a board member of Western University Research Parks and the Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation.
Lynn received her MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and a Bachelor of Commerce (with honours) from the University of Windsor. She holds the prestigious FCPA and FCA designations in recognition of her exceptional service to the profession. In 2021, Lynn completed the Directors Education Program at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and received her ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Senior Investment Consultant
Joseph is a principal in the Toronto office of Mercer’s Wealth business. He joined Mercer in 2015.
Joseph advises institutional investment clients on their defined contribution (DC) pension plans and other capital accumulation plans. This includes advice on plan design, governance, benefits adequacy, selection of record keepers, ongoing monitoring of overall plan operations and fee competitiveness.
Before joining Mercer, Joseph spent five years with a major insurance company, where he supported DC plan sponsors with respect to governance, plan administration and member education.
Joseph earned a Bachelor of Commerce in finance from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
Senior Fixed Income Research Specialist
Jeff is an investment manager researcher within Mercer’s Wealth business and is located in Toronto. Jeff specializes in fixed income research and is a member of the Canadian Fixed Income, US Core Fixed Income and Global Fixed Income Lead Research Committees.
Jeff rejoined Mercer in April 2018 after a three-year stint with Morningstar, Inc., where he was a manager research analyst covering fixed income, equity and multi-asset strategies. Previously, Jeff was a senior associate with Mercer consulting to pension plans and wealth management firms. He also worked as an investment analyst at the Teachers’ Retirement Allowances Fund in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jeff has been involved in the investment industry since 2009.
Jeff earned a Bachelor of Commerce (with honours) in finance from the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. He is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the Toronto CFA Society.
Equity Research Specialist
Ashley is a member of the Equity Manager Research Boutique within North America. As a senior investment research specialist, Ashley conducts research on global and international equity investment managers and serves on the Canadian Lead Research Committee.
Before joining Mercer, Ashley served as a senior portfolio manager with Simmons Bank Wealth Management and spent more than nine years with the University of Missouri System’s Investment Office.
Ashley holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in finance from the University of Missouri.
Global Leader, Fixed Income Boutique
Paul is a partner in Mercer’s Wealth business. He is the Global Leader of the Fixed Income Boutique and is responsible for a team of 18 that researches fixed income managers worldwide. He is based in London.
Prior to joining Mercer in April 2005, Paul gained more than 20 years of experience within the investment management industry. He was Global Head of Fixed Income Portfolio Management at Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, having held other roles ranging from Head of the Tactical Asset Allocation Team to Head of UK Portfolio Management. His responsibilities were diverse and encompassed strategic asset allocation, trading, portfolio management, client servicing and marketing.
DC Investment Consultant
Jean-Philippe is a senior associate in Mercer’s Wealth business and joined Mercer in 2018. He has 12 years of experience in the financial industry, including six with group retirement plans.
Jean-Philippe brings to the team an extensive knowledge of capital accumulation plans from both the plan member and plan sponsor perspective. Before his career in consulting, he was a financial security advisor at a major Canadian insurance company, where he advised Canadians on both insurance and wealth solutions. He then worked his way to group retirement solutions as an account manager for national accounts.
Jean-Philippe consults plan sponsors that offer defined contribution pension plans and works with his clients to maximize retirement outcomes for plan members. He also ensures his clients have set up a proper plan governance framework.
Jean-Philippe has a Bachelor in Business Administration from Université du Québec à Montréal and is a licensed group insurance and group annuity plans advisor with l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers.
Senior Investment Consultant
Jonathan is a senior consultant in Mercer’s Wealth business, with a practice area covering defined benefit (DB) pension plans, insurance arrangements and defined contribution (DC) plans.
Working with sponsors of DB pension plans and insurance arrangements, Jonathan consults on all aspects of the investment program, including risk budgeting and analysis, asset-liability modelling, portfolio structuring, investment manager search and selection, plan governance, and ongoing investment monitoring.
In the area of DC and other group savings arrangements, Jonathan works with plan sponsors to ensure proper risk management and to drive positive outcomes for plan members. This includes developing proper policies and governance frameworks, investment structure review and analysis, investment manager search and selection, and ongoing investment and operations monitoring.
Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and is a CFA® charterholder.
Global Leader, Equity Boutique
Rich is a partner in Mercer’s Wealth business. In his role as Global Leader of the Equity Boutique, Rich is responsible for equity manager research worldwide, focused on researching managers across a range of equity universes and geographies. He is based in London.
Rich joined Mercer in March 2008 with seven years of experience, including at Fidelity International, where he provided quantitative fund analysis on internal and external equity funds. He also spent four years at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (now BlackRock), where he was Assistant Vice President of the Information Research Team working on a range of quantitative-based research projects across a number of asset classes.
Rich holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southampton. He is a CFA® charterholder and holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation from the Investment Management Consultants Association.
Sustainable Investment Consultant
Elena is a senior associate in Mercer’s Sustainable Investment practice, based in Toronto, advising Canadian institutional investors on sustainable investment strategies and implementation.
Before joining the Sustainable Investment team in 2022, she was part of Mercer’s Wealth (Investment Consulting) business, where she supported both defined benefit and defined contribution plan sponsors on various investment aspects, including performance monitoring, investment structure and strategy, and governance. She also supported endowment and foundation clients in key areas, including asset mix strategy, investment manager searches and monitoring. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Elena supported the Sustainable Investment team on various ESG-related projects, such as investment manager engagement, carbon footprint analysis and education.
Elena joined Mercer as an analyst in 2016. She earned a Bachelor of Commerce in finance and economics from the University of Toronto in 2016 and is a CFA® charterholder.
President, Investments & Retirement
Mick is President of Mercer’s Investments and Retirement practice, which includes a diverse portfolio of services and solutions, including investment consulting, open architecture manager-of-managers investment management and retirement actuarial consulting services.
Since joining Mercer in 1999, Mick has held numerous business and commercial leadership roles across Wealth. Most recently, he was Global Leader of Investment Solutions and Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO). Before leading Mercer’s OCIO business, he served as an investment consultant, leading large client relationships in Europe and developing solutions across the full spectrum of retirement- and investment-related issues.
Mick is a CFA® charterholder and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business from the Michael Smurfit UCD Business School in Dublin, Ireland.
Mick takes great pride in helping clients achieve better financial security and investment outcomes. As a leader, he is committed to supporting colleague growth, fostering a diverse and inclusive working environment, and building collaborative and purpose-driven teams.
Senior DC Investment Consultant
Linda is a principal within the Wealth business in Toronto. She specializes in consulting to clients with defined contribution (DC) retirement programs, including providing support with plan design, governance, record keeper selection, financial wellness, fund manager selection, and ongoing investment and DC plan monitoring. Linda is responsible for the development of DC intellectual capital and research for Canada and is a member of the Target Date Manager Research Team. She has more than 20 years of consulting experience working with clients across various industries and plans of all sizes. Linda has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business, York University, and is a CFA® charterholder.
Head of Sustainable Investment for Canada
Bonnie leads Mercer’s Sustainable Investment team in Canada. As Sustainable Investment Leader, she works closely with clients to help them be more intentional with their investments to achieve their sustainability and impact goals.
Bonnie is an investment professional with 25 years of experience gained in North America and Europe, spanning professional services, banking, asset management and impact investing. She leverages her skills in strategic planning, initiating projects, catalyzing change, communicating impact and influencing decisions to help investors and business leaders prepare for the future.
Bonnie is the former Head of Investment Strategy at the Equality Fund, a not-for-profit organization investing with a gender lens. She previously founded Pique Ventures, an impact investment and management company, and Pique Fund, an angel fund focused on leadership diversity and women-led ventures.
Bonnie has also held roles in the UK and Europe — as a real estate investment banker with ABN AMRO and as a corporate finance advisor with Deloitte. She is also committed to sustainable, inclusive and local impact, having served on the Board of WeBC, a not-for-profit organization helping women business owners be full contributors to the economy, and LOCO BC, a business network focused on building sustainable local economies. She is the recipient of a Startup Canada Award for Entrepreneur Promotion and a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Bonnie is the author of Integrated Investing and has been published in Business Insider, Forbes and Huffington Post. She is a CPA, a CA and a CFA® charterholder and holds a Bachelor of Mathematics and a Master of Accounting from the University of Waterloo. Bonnie lives in Toronto with her husband and two children, returning to her roots after two decades in London, UK, and Vancouver.
Global Co-Chief Investment Officer, Private Markets
Michael is the Global Co-CIO (Private Markets) for Mercer Alternatives and serves on the Investment Committees for private equity, private debt, secondaries and co-investments, and sustainable opportunities. He also sits on the Ratings Review Committees for private equity and private debt. His duties include portfolio management and manager selection across private equity, private debt and natural resources investments. In addition, Michael serves as portfolio manager for the Mercer Private Investment Partners series of multi-manager private market funds.
He earned both his bachelor’s degree in business administration and MBA from the University of Georgia, with an emphasis in finance. He is a CFA® charterholder, and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Quebec Wealth Leader
Geneviève is a partner and leads Mercer’s Quebec Wealth business in Montreal. She is responsible for the teams in charge of delivering asset management and pension actuarial consulting services for the province.
She has more than 20 years of industry experience and has extensive expertise in retirement consulting, client management and business development with large organizations, providing advisory services in financial management, plan design, risk management, governance and administration.
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are among her priorities as a leader as well as in her approach to client management.
Geneviève holds a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science from Université du Québec à Montréal. She is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and is certified by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching as professional coach.
Having joined Mercer in 2018, Marie-Léa is an investment consultant in our Montreal office. She is a key member of various client teams, including for pension plans and not-for-profit fund accounts. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, reviewing investment policy statements, preparing education sessions, supporting the Strategic Research Team at the national level as well as working on sustainable investment projects. She is also involved in monitoring and selecting investment managers for clients and producing a variety of reports in a timely manner. In addition, she often presents reports and participates in investment manager and client meetings.
Marie-Léa is a CFA® charterholder and a CAIA charterholder. She earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, with a major in finance, from Université de Montréal. She is fully bilingual (French and English).
Global Head of Sustainable Investment Research
Sarika is a principal in Mercer’s Wealth Business and Global Head of Sustainable Investment Research. She leads on building and expanding research coverage of SI investment strategies across asset classes, including those aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, climate transition and other stewardship themes. She also leads on ESG research and integration across asset classes, working with other manager research boutiques to assess how asset managers are integrating ESG into their investment decisions. Sarika is a member of the Strategic Research Group and responsible for intellectual capital focusing on implementable solutions in sustainability themes.
Prior to joining Mercer in 2010, Sarika spent three years at RBC Wealth Management in London within the Advisory and Discretionary business groups. Previously, she spent two years as an equity research associate at Scotia Capital in Toronto, Canada, covering the Canadian Banks and Diversified Financials sectors.
Sarika holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and is a CFA® charterholder.
Senior Investment Consultant
Peter is a principal and investment solutions specialist with Mercer Global Investments, based in Vancouver. With more than 25 years of investment experience, Peter works with a broad range of pension, foundation, endowment and other institutional clients on various aspects of investment services, including strategic asset allocation, portfolio structure and evaluation, manager selection, and investment policy formulation.
Before joining Mercer in 2010, Peter spent five years with a global investment management firm, responsible for sales and client service across Canada, and 10 years as a senior investment consultant with Towers Perrin, based in Calgary.
Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts in management economics from the University of Guelph and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and is a CFA® charterholder.
Senior Investment Consultant
Irfan is a principal within Mercer’s Wealth business, based in Toronto. He has more than 15 years of experience within the institutional investment industry.
Irfan has experience consulting to a broad range of Canadian institutions — large and small defined benefit and defined contribution plans, endowments and foundations, and insurance companies — assisting them in all aspects of managing their investment programs, including establishing investment policies, strategic investment and risk objective setting, investment structure decisions, and selecting and monitoring investment managers and related service providers.
Irfan also served as a director for a not-for-profit organization in his local community that offers supportive housing and a variety of programs for individuals who have experienced homelessness, mental illness or addiction or have had conflict with the law and are transitioning back into society.
Irfan received a degree in mathematics (with honours) from the University of Waterloo. He is also a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute and the Toronto CFA Society.
Global Head of Investment Research
Jo sits on Mercer’s global leadership team for our Wealth business and chairs a number of our strategic and policy committees. During 2022 she will take over the co-chairmanship of the Investment Consultants Sustainability Working Group.
Jo was previously Chief Investment Officer for Mercer’s UK advisory team and European Strategic Director of Research, a role within which she assumed responsibility for making sure that our diverse client base receives the best of our global research. Jo is also is an investment consultant for a small number of Mercer’s strategic clients.
Jo joined Mercer in 2002 from PwC’s actuarial practice and, after several years as an investment consultant in our Liverpool team, has held a number of client-focused and leadership roles. During 2017 Jo was Defined Benefits Leader for our Liverpool office, where she was responsible for the integration and leadership of the legacy Investment and Funding teams as the Mercer Wealth business was formed. Jo also led the growth of our public sector business and managed strategic client relationships.
Prior to the integration of the investment and actuarial businesses in late 2016, Jo was a member of the leadership team managing Mercer’s UK Investment Business. She also established our successful Manchester Investments team in 2009.
Global Leader, Diversifying Alternatives Boutique
John is a partner in Mercer’s Wealth business. He is the Global Leader of the Hedge Fund Boutique, which focuses on researching hedge funds and multi-asset strategies, developing intellectual capital, and working with clients on portfolio construction. He is based in St. Louis, Missouri, US.
John joined Mercer in January 2011 with 10 years of experience when Hammond Associates was acquired by Mercer. He worked in the Hedge Fund Research Group at Hammond after working as an associate consultant, senior performance analyst and supervisor in the Performance Analysis Department. Before joining Hammond, he worked as an associate for a financial planning firm.
John holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri and is a CFA® charterholder.
Senior DC Consultant
Brett is a senior investment and defined contribution consultant within Mercer’s dedicated Defined Contribution Consulting practice with more than 11 years of consulting experience. Brett’s main practice area is delivering advice to a wide range of institutional clients on all DC aspects, including investment monitoring, plan design, governance and benefit adequacy evaluation, ongoing monitoring of overall DC plan operations, and financial wellness support.
Brett also leads Mercer’s Canadian digital financial wellness platform, supporting both solution and business development. Brett graduated from Concordia University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in international business and finance.
Global Chief Investment Officer, Investment Solutions
Hooman is the Global Chief Investment Officer for Mercer's Delegated Investment Solutions business. He leads a team of investment professionals who are responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the fiduciary investment process, including investment strategy, asset allocation and de-risking, fund manager selection, monitoring and blending as well as portfolio implementation.
Hooman has been in his current role since 2017 having previously been the European CIO for Mercer’s Delegated Investment Solutions business. Prior to his move to Mercer in 2006, he was Chief Investment Officer at one of Ireland's largest financial services companies whose investment division he joined in 1990.
Hooman holds a bachelor’s degree (with honors) in microelectronics engineering and an MBA from Trinity College Dublin, as well as a master’s degree (with honors) in investments and treasury management from Dublin City University.
Canadian Leader of Defined Contribution and Financial Wellness
Jillian is a partner in Mercer’s Wealth business and is responsible for leading the defined contribution and financial wellness strategy for Canada. She is also a member of the Wealth Leadership Team and works closely with Mercer’s global teams. Jillian’s main practice area is in supporting defined contribution pension plans and savings plans for plan sponsors and plan members. From plan design to investments, service provider management and ongoing governance support, Jillian applies a holistic approach to proactively manage plan sponsor objectives and improve the overall financial wellness of employees.
Jillian has been with Mercer for more than 10 years and has been supporting plan sponsors and members to achieve better outcomes in retirement savings for more than 17 years.
Investments Leader, Canada
Yusuke serves as Investments Leader for the Wealth business in Canada and oversees Mercer Canada’s investment strategic research efforts. Yusuke works with institutional investors, such as pension plans, foundations and financial institutions, in planning, implementing and monitoring their investment strategies. In particular, he specializes in the analysis of asset allocation options, structuring portfolios and selecting investment management firms.
Yusuke joined Mercer in 2018 through the acquisition of Pavilion Advisory Group Ltd. after having worked as an investment consultant to Pavilion’s institutional clients since 1999. He is a CFA® charterholder and holds the FRM designation. Yusuke is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal.
Senior Equity Research Specialist
Elton is a manager researcher in the Equities Boutique at Mercer and is a member of the Lead Research Committees for Canadian and ESG Equities Strategies.
Before joining Mercer in 2011, Elton was a senior mutual fund analyst for RBC Dominion Securities for many years, conducting due diligence on third-party mutual funds and providing advice and opinions to investment advisors.
Elton holds an MBA from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and is a CFA® charterholder. Most recently, he has obtained certification for the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting program from SASB and is currently working towards a Sustainable Investment Professional certification from Concordia University.
Senior Investment Consultant
Gilles is a Wealth partner in our Montreal office with more than 26 years of consulting experience. He started his career in New York City working in foreign operations for several large US multinationals before transferring to Montreal to focus on investment consulting.
Gilles acts as lead investment consultant for many Canadian and multinational clients, whose assets under advisement range from a few million dollars to several billion dollars. Working jointly with institutional investors, he aims to optimize the management of various pools of assets — from pension funds (defined benefit and defined contribution) to insurance funds to endowments and foundations — and also works with taxable investors. His expertize covers the full gamut of investment consulting services, including:
- Financial risk management
- Asset/liability studies
- Development of investment policies and strategies, including LDI strategies and alternative investments
- Design and implementation of manager structures and performance monitoring
- Governance structure and processes
He also acts as the business leader for the Canadian Global Investment Forum. Gilles has a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science from l’Université Laval and he is an associate of the Society of Actuaries. He is completely bilingual (French and English).
Equity Portfolio Manager
Ciarán is an equity portfolio manager and principal in Mercer’s OCIO Solutions practice, based in the Toronto office. His responsibilities include manager selection, portfolio construction, solution design, risk management and client communication for Mercer’s equity solutions.
Previously, Ciarán worked as Lead Portfolio Manager on Aon’s OCIO team with responsibility for the equity and real asset solutions. Prior to that, he worked as an equity portfolio manager at KBC Asset Management.
Ciarán is a CFA® chaterholder and a CAIA charterholder. He earned a Bachelor of Science (with honours) in business and finance from Technological University Dublin and a master’s degree in economics from University College Dublin.
Senior Investment Consultant
Roddy is a principal within Mercer’s Wealth business, based in Toronto. He has nine years of experience in providing investment advice to defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) plans. Roddy is also a member of the Canadian Investment Research and Evaluation Team, where he works closely with investment managers and clients to bring updates on trends within the DC market. Roddy helps clients with investment selection and monitoring, DC record keeper selection and review, fiduciary/governance best practices, company stock programs, investment policy statements, and pension committee education. Roddy holds the CIM designation.
Senior Investment Consultant
Stéphanie is a principal in Mercer’s Wealth business in Montreal. As a specialist in capital accumulation plans (DC), Stéphanie consults to her clients on design, governance, wellness and investments. She has an excellent understanding of members’ needs and has developed solid competencies in employee communications. As part of her current responsibilities, Stéphanie regularly participates in internal and external focus groups to promote innovation and the development of best practices related to DC plans.
Before joining Mercer in 2015, Stéphanie was an actuarial consultant in the area of defined benefit pension plans, which allowed her to acquire expertise in pension management.
Infrastructure Market Leader, North America
Michael is a Principal and Head of the North American Infrastructure team within Mercer Alternatives, which provides strategic research, trusted advice and investment solutions for institutional investors seeking to allocate to private markets and hedge fund strategies. He also sits on the Infrastructure Ratings Review Committee, which oversees research ratings on all infrastructure strategies.
Prior to joining Mercer in 2014, Michael worked for some of Canada’s largest financial institutions, including TD Securities and BMO Capital Markets, where he was a senior equity research analyst, predominantly covering the North American power, utilities and renewable energy sectors. He provided investment recommendations on companies with a total market capitalization of approximately $40 billion (Canadian).
Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia. He is a CFA® charterholder and a chartered professional accountant.
Global Chief Investment Officer, Alternatives
Bill is a senior partner and Mercer’s Global Chief Investment Officer for Alternatives. He oversees the management of all Mercer’s discretionary alternatives portfolios worldwide.Bill is based in London.
Prior to returning to Mercer in May 2010 to take up his current role, Bill had previously been with Mercer from 1992 to 2007, initially in Melbourne, Australia, then in London from 1997 as Global Head of Manager Research and, from 2003 onward, as Global Head of Research. During this period, Bill provided advice on international investment issues to clients based in 20 countries. In 2003, Bill was named European Investment Consultant of the Year by Global Money Management magazine.
Bill spent just over three years between his two stints at Mercer as a portfolio manager on Thames River Capital’s Multimanager Alternatives Team. Prior to joining Mercer, Bill worked for the Australian government in Canberra and for Prudential Assurance in Sydney.
Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in actuarial studies from Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia. He is a Fellow of both the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK and the Institute of Actuaries of Australia.
Wealth Business Leader, Toronto
Todd is a partner and the Leader of Mercer’s Wealth business in the Toronto office. He rejoined Mercer in 2018.
Todd has more than 15 years of consulting experience. He has worked with a wide variety of institutional clients, including defined benefit and defined contribution pension plan sponsors, endowments and foundations. He assists plan sponsors with all aspects of managing their investment programs, including establishing investment policies, selecting record keeper and investment options, and investment performance monitoring. In addition, Todd is a frequent speaker at external investment seminars.
Todd is a CFA® charterholder and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce in economics (with honours) from the University of Guelph.
Alternative Investments Leader, Canada
Rekha is the Alternative Investments Leader for Canada and is based in Ottawa. She works with Canadian clients to help them design, implement and monitor their allocations to private markets assets.
Rekha has held a number of previous roles at Mercer, having joined the firm in 1999 in the UK. She began her career in Mercer’s Investment practice, advising a range of pension fund clients on all aspects relating to the investment of their assets. During this time, she also led the Investment practice in Mercer’s Leeds, UK, office. She then transitioned to Mercer’s then-fledgling Delegated Solutions Team, where she worked as a senior consultant for more than seven years. During that time, Rekha’s interest in private markets deepened, and, with the launch of Mercer’s Global Alternatives Group in 2018, Rekha moved into the role of Private Markets Investment Director, supporting clients with their alternatives allocations.
In 2021, Rekha began working with Mercer’s Canadian clients and made the physical move to Ottawa in June 2022 to formally take on the role of Alternative Investment Leader, Canada.
Rekha has a degree in accountancy and financial management from the University of Sheffield and qualified as a CFA® charterholder in 2002.
Canada Wealth Leader
Teresa is a senior partner and the leader of Mercer Canada’s Wealth business. Teresa is responsible for Mercer’s delivery of investment consulting, open architecture manager-of-managers investment management, private wealth management, and retirement actuarial consulting services and solutions in Canada.
Teresa has previously held various leadership positions, including most recently as the leader of Mercer’s Toronto office.
Teresa brings a diverse consulting background to clients, with expertise in aligning future business and workforce strategies. She has worked with clients to develop cash and risk mitigation strategies for pension plans; designed total rewards strategies and programs that support business objectives; and used HR data analytics to segment, diagnose, and improve program efficiency and employee engagement.
Teresa is a strong advocate for gender equality and racial diversity in the workplace and is the Executive Sponsor of the Women@Mercer chapter in Toronto and the Executive Sponsor of the Canadian Racial & Ethnic Diversity Group.
Teresa graduated from the University of Toronto (summa cum laude), where she earned a Bachelor of Science. She is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
As CEO of Mercer Canada, Jaqui leads 1,000 employees coast-to-coast, working to help people achieve healthier, more financially secure and professionally rewarding futures.
Before becoming CEO, Jaqui led more than 500 employees as Mercer’s Toronto Office Leader for two years. Previously, she headed the Investments practice in Canada. She has more than 30 years of experience consulting in the retirement savings and investment areas.
Jaqui is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, inside and outside of Mercer. At Mercer, she is the North American Executive Sponsor of PRIDE at Mercer and is a former Chair of Women@Mercer and When Women Thrive.
In the community, she serves on the boards of the BlackNorth Initiative, the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee. She also directly serves the Black community as a member of the Black Experience @ SickKids Advisory Council, as an Advisor to Developing Young Leaders of Tomorrow, Today (DYLOTT), and as a member of the Health Task Force of the Black Opportunity Fund. She has served on a number of investment committees related to pension and endowment assets, and, in 2020, she received the Gold Award — HR Champion (CEO) from the Canadian HR Awards.
Jaqui graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and actuarial science. She earned her Associate designation from the Society of Actuaries in 1989 and is a CFA® charterholder.
Fixed Income Research Specialist
Shivani is a senior investment analyst in Mercer’s Fixed Income Manager Research Boutique, where she covers a broad range of US and global fixed income strategies. She joined Mercer in 2021.
Shivani holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. At the time of writing, she is pursuing the CFA® charterholder designation.
Senior Investment Consultant
Ryan is a principal in Mercer’s Wealth business in Toronto with more than 12 years of experience partnering with endowment, foundation and not-for-profit clients. Ryan focuses on investment strategy, including asset mix, spending policies, portfolio structuring and manager selection.
Ryan joined Mercer in 2011 as a member of Mercer’s Responsible Investment Consulting practice, serving as Canadian leader of this team until 2017. Ryan regularly works with investment committees to evolve their strategies to incorporate impact investing and environmental, social and governance beliefs into portfolios.
Before joining Mercer, Ryan worked as a consultant to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and as a business analyst for an environmental engineering firm.
Ryan holds the Chartered Investment Manager designation. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (with honours) in political science from Wilfrid Laurier University and a master’s degree in environment and resource studies from the University of Waterloo.
Investment Director – Private Markets
Amy is a Partner in Mercer’s alternatives group, where she leads diverse manager research and investing, helping clients close a critical gap in their portfolios — allocating capital to minority and women private markets funds. She serves as Chair of Mercer’s DEI Investment Committee and is a member of Mercer’s Private Equity Ratings Review Committee, its Private Debt Ratings Review Committee and its Sustainable Opportunities’ Investment Committee.
Amy has 16 years of private equity experience, 13 of which have been at Mercer (including Pavilion Alternatives, which was acquired by Mercer in 2018), and was a recipient of the 2021 Knowledge Broker Award awarded by CIO Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of San Francisco.
Jean-Nicolas joined Mercer as a pension actuary in 2016. After spending two years in the multinational client segment in the US, he joined Mercer Canada’s Investment team, focusing on design and governance of defined contribution plans. He is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Senior Diversifying Alternatives Research Specialist
John is a hedge fund principal at Mercer.
In this role, he is responsible for initial and ongoing manager due diligence, including sourcing, vetting and ultimately selecting hedge fund managers across all strategies. Additional responsibilities include communicating formal updates for recommended managers and supporting consulting staff with hedge-fund-specific recommendations, requests and inquiries. John serves on the Lead Researcher Committee for Long/Short Equity strategies and Ratings Review Committees for Multi-Strategy and Fund of Funds Strategies.
He joined Hammond Associates in 2000, which was acquired by Mercer in 2011, and he has been with the Hedge Fund Team since 2005. Before joining the Research Department at Hammond, John was a supervisor in the Performance Analytics Department.
John earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2000 and is based in St. Louis.
Global Head of Private Debt
David is a highly experienced leader and investor specializing in private credit and private equity alternative investments, with a track record in direct investing, co-investing and fund investing. He is also a proponent of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles within investment strategies. He is currently Global Head of Private Debt for Mercer Alternatives.
Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer of Alcentra Capital Corporation (Nasdaq: ABDC), focused on corporate renewal as well as direct debt and equity investments in North America. Before joining Alcentra, David was a principal at GarMark Partners, leading debt and equity transactions in US middle-market businesses.
David was previously appointed by the Connecticut State Treasurer to turn around and restructure the $37 billion pension plan’s private investment program. Under his leadership, the program generated above-market performance, improved governance and expanded its investment scope. He was also elected Vice Chairman of the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA).
Earlier in his career, David led direct debt and equity co-investments at ING Capital with a focus on transportation, homeland security, defense and aerospace, and consumer and environmental services. He has served on multiple public and private company boards in the financial services, fintech, media and transportation industries. He is a current member of the National Association of Corporate directors.
David earned his BBA in finance and accounting from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.
Senior Investment Consultant
Jean-Pierre is a partner in Mercer’s Wealth business in Montreal. He has 34 years of industry experience, including the past 19 years in the investment consulting business. He provides institutional investors with consulting services on various aspects of pension fund management: asset mix policy, risk management, developing investment management structures, and selecting and monitoring investment managers. In addition, he is often a guest speaker at various investment conferences and seminars.
Jean-Pierre’s roster of clients includes companies in the services, banking, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, academic, public and parapublic sectors as well as foundations.
Jean-Pierre holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Université de Montréal. He is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Senior Investment Consultant
Daniella is a partner with Mercer, joining in 2022.
Daniella brings a diverse consulting and portfolio management background to clients, having consulted with both private and public sector clients on investment policies, risk budgeting, asset allocation, investment structure design and manager selection for their pension plans, benefits plans, and endowments and foundations. Her experience also extends to the construction and management of multi-asset-class portfolios for institutional and private wealth clients as well as balanced funds for a large Canadian asset manager.
As a leader in financial modelling and risk management, Daniella has helped clients measure, monitor and manage asset-liability risk, including the design of investment, funding, benefits and annuity purchase strategies. Daniella has led the development of the capital market assumptions for modelling projects and discount rate setting. She also has considerable experience with pension plan design, valuation, funding and administration.
In addition to her client responsibilities, Daniella has presented at numerous industry and company events, has participated in various research groups and has contributed to, prepared and published various thought leadership pieces. As a volunteer, Daniella sits on the Pension Subcommittee for the Canadian National Ballet School.
Daniella is a Fellow of both the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. She is also a CFA® charterholder and a CAIA charterholder.
Daniella earned a Bachelor of Mathematics (with honours) from the University of Waterloo. She was also inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame and has represented Canada in various international competitions in track and field.
Chief Investment Officer, Canada
Rachel is the Chief Investment Officer for Mercer’s Canadian OCIO business and is responsible for managing the Delegated Solutions Investment Team in Canada. Rachel has more than 20 years of experience managing Canadian and global equities and manager-of-manager funds. She joined Mercer in 2019.
Rachel most recently worked at SEI Investments in Toronto, where she was a senior portfolio manager and Head of Canadian Equities. Her career has also included investment management positions at Calvert Investment Management, Invesco Trimark, TD Asset Management and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.
Rachel is a CFA® charterholder. She earned an international MBA from York University and a Bachelor of Arts in criminology from the University of Toronto.
Senior Investment Consultant
Dave is a principal based in the Toronto office and has been working in investment consulting for more than 20 years, advising institutional investors of all sizes. These clients include pension plans, insurance companies, endowments and charitable foundations. Dave’s clients employ a range of different approaches to implementing their investment strategies and require different consulting approaches based on the makeup of the investment committee.
Dave acts as an alternative investments specialist for Mercer alongside his client-consulting responsibilities and so has specialist knowledge in asset classes such as infrastructure, private debt, private equity and hedge funds. He also previously led our 25-strong Investment Team in Bristol, England.
Dave is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Global Leader, Real Estate
Allison is the Global Leader of Real Estate within Mercer Alternatives, part of Mercer's Wealth Business. She provides real estate consulting and strategic advice to Mercer's clients and consultants located across the globe, and also manages a team of consultants and researchers based in the various Mercer regional offices. That team is responsible for providing strategic and investment direction to clients in regards to constructing real estate and natural resource portfolios.
Allison has more than 35 years of financial and real estate investment experience. Before joining Mercer in 2003, she worked for a real estate investment management firm for 14 years in portfolio management and finance roles. Prior to that, she spent three years working for a public accounting firm.
Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Georgia. She is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of NCREIF and serves as a Board member on the NCREIF/PREA Reporting Standards Board as well as several other advisory boards.
DC Investment Consultant
Dasha is a defined contribution (DC) consultant within Mercer’s Wealth business, based in Vancouver. Dasha brings more than 12 years of industry experience. Her main focus is on providing DC consulting and investment services to institutional clients across Western Canada, including plan design, governance, investment performance, member engagement and financial wellness. Dasha’s previous experience in the industry was with various investment firms and a consulting firm. Dasha has a bachelor’s degree from the Belarusian State University with a specialty in world economy and international economic relations. She is also a CFA® charterholder.
At premier venues in iconic cities
We look forward to welcoming Canadian clients and asset managers in person at the Marriot Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto.
Venue: Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre
525 Bay St,
Toronto, ON M5G 2L2, Canada
Discover modern style and award winning service at Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Located in downtown Toronto, Canada, the hotel places you in the heart of the city, near shopping, dining and entertainment. Spacious guest rooms include plush bedding, comfortable seating areas and deluxe amenities. The hotel offers a 24-hour fitness centre and rooftop indoor pool with cityscape views.
Hotel booking information
For your convenience, Mercer has reserved a block of hotel rooms at the Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre at the discounted rate of CAD $359 (plus 13% HST and 4% MAT) which includes complimentary high speed internet. This rate is available until Friday, October 21. Reservations made after this date will be based on hotel availability and at the prevailing rate.