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)

MC:

      Time   |   Session/speaker(s)
     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

      Time   |   Session/speaker(s)
     8:00 am – 9:00 am   |   Breakfast and registration
  • 9:00 am – 9:05 am   |   Welcome

    Teresa Palandra, Canada Wealth Leader

  • 9:05 am – 9:25 am   |   Themes and opportunities — Hindsights and insights

    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”? 

  • 9:25 am – 10:10 am   |   Not our parents' investment landscape — Asset allocation strategy


    Roman Kosarenko, Senior Director, Pension Investments, Loblaw Companies
    Sam Reda, Co-Founder, Alpha CCO Logiciel
    Kevin Zhu, Managing Director, Portfolio Construction Group, OPTrust
    Rich Nuzum, Executive Director, Investments and Global Chief Investment Strategist
    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.

  • 10:10 am – 10:35 am   |   Soaring inflation and rising yields — Navigating public markets portfolios through the storm

    Jonathan Croft, Senior Investment Consultant
    Daniella Vega, 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.

     10:35 am– 11:05 am   |   Break
  • 11:05 am – 11:25 am   |   The case for China revisited — Allocating to China equities and fixed income

    Irfan Hassan, Senior Investment Consultant
    Ciarán Lynch, Equity Portfolio Manager

    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.

  • 11:25 am – 11:55 am   |   Managing climate risk: How one pension plan took action to measure potential impact on portfolio


    Karen Lockridge, Director, ESG Investing, Canada Post
    Jean-Pierre Talon, Senior Investment Consultant

    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.

  • 11:55 am – 12:25 pm   |   Inflation and sustainability — A new opportunity for alternative investments


    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.  

     12:25 pm – 1:45 pm   |   Lunch
  • 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm   |   Keynote conversation: How conflict shaped us

    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. 

  • 2:45 pm – 3:05 pm   |   Tackling financial wellness for improved outcomes

    Brett Jennings, Senior DC Consultant
    Jillian Kennedy, Leader of DC and Financial Wellness, Canada

    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. 

     3:05 pm– 3:35 pm   |   Break
  • 3:45 pm– 4:15 pm   |   Breakouts – Round 1

    1. Evolution of target date funds

    Jean-Philippe Côté, DC Investment Consultant
    Roddy MacKenzie, Senior 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

    Joseph Bevilacqua, Senior Investment Consultant
    Linda Do, Senior DC 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 for finding ways for risk, return and the real world to co-exist increases. 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. As with any disruptive theme, it is often hard to distinguish between myths and reality. In this session, we will debunk some of the most common myths associated to impact investing and discuss how Canadian investors are tackling these investments.


    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. 

  • 4:25 pm– 4:55 pm   |   Breakouts – Round 2

    As above

  • 5:05 pm– 5:25 pm   |   Sustainability in practice


    Lynn Logan, Vice-President, Operations & Finance, Western University
    Bonnie Foley-Wong, Head of Sustainable Investment for Canada

    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.

  • 5:25 pm– 5:30 pm   |   Closing Remarks

    Mick Dempsey, President, Investments & Retirement

     6:00 pm   |   Forum game night! Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets


Tuesday, November 15th

Times are in Toronto Local Time (UTC -4)

      Time   |   Session/speaker(s)
     10:00 am– 6:00pm   |    Learn, share, connect sessions (virtual)


Wednesday, November 16th

Times are in Toronto Local Time (UTC -4)

      Time   |   Session/speaker(s)
     10:00 am – 6:00 pm   |    Learn, share, connect sessions (virtual)

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.

 

Keynote speaker

Margaret MacMillan

Historian, Professor, and Author

  • Read more

    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).

 

Guest speakers

Delaney Greig

Director, Investor Stewardship, University Pension Plan

  • Read more

    Delaney is Director, Investor Stewardship, at UPP. She supports the development of UPP’s approach to public policy advocacy and leads stewardship to advance UPP’s investing strategy and the health of the financial, environmental and social systems on which capital markets rely. She is Co-Chair of the Responsible Investment Association’s Policy Stewardship Group and a member of the Technical Committee of Climate Engagement Canada.

    Delaney joined UPP from Addenda Capital, where she worked on stewardship, ESG integration and product development as Director of Sustainable Investing. Previously, she designed and led impact-oriented engagement dialogues and contributed to policy advocacy at SHARE.

    A lawyer by training, Delaney holds a JD and a Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University, a Master of Arts in political economy from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts in international development from the University of Guelph. She is a member of the Board of Living Wage Canada and a former member of the Board of the Sierra Club of Canada.

Roman Kosarenko

Senior Director, Pension Investments, Loblaw Companies

  • Read more

    Roman is Senior Director, Pension Investments, at Loblaw Companies Limited, overseeing defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) investments for the largest private employer in Canada. Roman is a board member of the Pension Investment Association of Canada (PAIC) and served on the FSRA/OSFI Technical Advisory Committee on the DC plan.

    An active advocate for DC longevity pooling solutions, Roman has been in the pension industry for more than 15 years. He is a CFA® charterholder and holds an MBA from London Business School in the UK.

Karen Lockridge

Director, ESG Investing, Canada Post

  • Read more

    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.

Lynn Logan

Vice-President, Operations & Finance, Western University

  • Read more

    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.

Sam Reda

Co-Founder, Alpha CCO Logiciel

  • Read more

    Sam has more than 40 years of experience and expertise in investment management.

    He previously served as Chairman of Triasima Investment Management, Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of Fiera Capital, President and Chief Executive Officer of Natcan Investment Management, and Executive Vice President of TAL Institutional Management (a division of TAL Global Asset Management).

    Sam is a member of several boards of directors and advisory committees, including Lysander Funds Ltd, PBY Capital Inc., Alpha CCO Software Inc. and The XChange Company. He also serves on the Pension and/or Investment Committees of Concordia University, the McGill University Health Centre Foundation (past Chair), the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, the Canadian Board of Directors of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation Employee Pension Plan Advisory Committee and the Investment Committees of several family offices.

    Sam is currently Co-Chair of the McGill University Health Centre Foundation’s new $50 million campaign, “Fix Broken Hearts.” Previously, he served on the boards of several investment management and insurance companies, including the Quebec Bar Professional Liability Insurance Fund, Triasima Investment Management, Fiera Capital, Natcan Investment Management and CFA Montreal.

    Sam has launched two major annual investment education events in Montreal. In 1999, he launched the Pension Fund Management Seminar for the IFEBP, and in 2009, the “Dialogue With Our Leaders” lecture series and its successor for CFA Montreal. He continues to organize both events. Since 2011, Sam has been President of Maralex Capital Inc., a firm specializing in strategic consulting for investment management firms. He is also Co-Founder and Chairman of Alpha CCO Software Inc., a company that provides compliance solutions for the investment management industry and various other industries. 

    Sam holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Quebec and is a CFA® charterholder. He is also a graduate of the Directors Education Program offered by the Institute of Corporate Directors in Toronto and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Kevin Zhu

Managing Director, Portfolio Construction Group, OPTrust

  • Read more

    Kevin is Managing Director, Head of Portfolio Construction, at OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest defined benefit (DB) pension funds, with net assets of more than $25 billion.

    Kevin has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including both central banking and total portfolio investment framework and strategy design for large Canadian DB pension plans.

    Kevin joined OPTrust in 2016, where he has been leading total fund portfolio management functions, including portfolio construction research and innovation, capital and risk allocation across asset classes and strategies, total portfolio management framework design, and dynamic total portfolio management.

    Before joining OPTrust, Kevin held the position of Director, Strategy and Asset Mix, at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Prior to this appointment, Kevin was Senior Economist at the Bank of Canada, focusing on monetary policy research and model development. He holds a Master of Arts in economics from Carleton University in Ottowa and is a CFA® charterholder. In 2017, Kevin was named to Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute’s Public Investor 100.

 

Speakers

Joseph Bevilacqua

Senior Investment Consultant

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    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.

Jeff Bunce

Senior Fixed Income Research Specialist

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    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.

Ashley Caldwell

Equity Research Specialist