2024 DB Pension New Ideas Forum
THE CANADIAN LEADERSHIP CONGRESS
THE 2024 DB PENSION NEW IDEAS FORUM
February 22, 2024
Shangri-la Hotel · Toronto, ON
Overcoming Challenge Through Innovation
This year’s DB New Ideas Forum will convene DB pension decision-makers, asset managers and experts to discuss emerging investment trends and new paradigms for traditional portfolio management approaches.
Focused on the theme, Overcoming Challenge Through Innovation, the day’s sessions and speakers will address new ways to navigate today’s challenging markets, including generative AI, public and private markets investing, China, the future of risk management, and the evolving landscape of sustainable investing.
Opening Cocktail Reception and Dinner
Location: Room TBD
Breakfast and Registration
8:00 — 8:15 a.m.
Opening Remarks, Rules of Engagement, and Introductions
8:15 — 8:45 a.m.
Opening Keynote: A Conversation With Dominic Barton
This one-on-one discussion will address Canada’s role on an evolving and increasingly fraught global stage. How is the global order shifting? What are the pitfalls that lie ahead for Canada and how can we best navigate these growing challenges?
- Dominic Barton, former Canadian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and former CEO, McKinsey
- Stewart Beck, former CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and former Canadian High Commissioner to India
8:45 — 9:30 a.m.
Panel: Managing the Risks of “Reverse” Globalization
If the last 20 years have been about the globalization of economies and markets, the last two years have seen a significant reversal of this trend. Geopolitical risk, pandemic policy, and supply chain disruptions have seen the rise of what could be called “reverse” globalization as countries seek to repatriate manufacturing and energy production and increasingly scrutinize the practices of countries they deal with. What does this mean for asset allocation — and how best can asset owners position their portfolios to navigate this increasingly unclear environment?
- Olga Bitel, Partner, William Blair
- Mark Shulgan, Managing Director and Head of Growth Equity, OMERS
9:30 — 10:00 a.m.
CLC Leader Session: A Conversation with Bill Morneau
This one-on-one discussion will explore the state of Canada’s economy and how the country is positioned on the global stage. What options do policymakers have? And how should financial policy be evolving in order to support sustainable growth?
- Bill Morneau, former Federal Finance Minister, Canada
10:00 — 10:30 a.m.
10:30 — 11:15 a.m.
Panel: From 2023‑2032 — Asset Management Now and in the Future
From AI to new ways to generate alpha moving forward, the global asset management space is changing dramatically — and given the challenges in today’s investment landscape, the shift is necessary for survival. How are asset managers and asset owners working together to navigate challenging market conditions — and how can they best align their interests to thrive in the future?
- Arup Datta, Head of Global Quantitative Equity, Mackenzie Investments
- Odrée Ducharme, Managing Director, Strategy and Execution, Fund Investments and External Managers, CDPQ Funds Management
- Asif Haque, Chief Investment Officer, CAAT Pension Plan
- Andrew Keiller, Partner and Investment Specialist, Emerging Markets Client Team, Baillie Gifford
- Mark Wiseman, Chair of the Board of Directors, AIMCo
11:15 — 11:45 a.m.
CLC Leader Session: Long-term Capital in Tumultuous Times
For the past decade, asset owners have been encouraged to step up and refocus their investment decision making on the potential to create long‑term value rather than short‑term gains. Advocacy against short‑termism has become an important force in capital markets on a global basis, however the pressure to generate short‑term financial performance has remained pervasive. This conversation will explore the benefits and challenges of long‑term thinking and address growing pressures in global economies and financial systems that could make longer‑term solutions harder to come by.
- Dominic Barton, former Canadian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, and former CEO, McKinsey
- Mark Wiseman, Chair of the Board of Directors, AIMCo
11:45 a.m. — Noon
Noon — 1:00 p.m.
1:00 — 1:30 p.m.
CLC Leader Session: Building Your Strategy Around Innovation
We hear a lot of talk about innovation from investors however the bigger question remains: how can it be used to construct and manage portfolios? This one‑on‑one conversation will explore work done at OPTrust to create portfolios positioned for the future and how they’ve tapped into innovative new sources of growth in a pension context.
- Brandon Gill New, Director and Head of Multi‑Strategy Investing and Digital Assets, Capital Markets Group, OPTrust
1:30 — 2:15 p.m.
Panel: The End of Diversification?
In the last several months, the prices of stocks and bonds have dropped in tandem — and precipitously — and raised questions about whether we’re operating in a very new kind of normal. How best can asset owners tackle the question of diversification at a time when massive structural changes are challenging prevailing beliefs about asset allocation and risk?
- Adam Berger, Vice President, Asset Allocation Strategist, Wellington Asset Management
- Bruce Phelps, Managing Director, Head of PGIM IAS, PGIM
- Heather Tobin, Managing Director, Head of Active Investment and Total Fund Management, CPP Investments
- Poul Winslow, Advisory Board Member, Canadian Leadership Congress
2:15 — 2:30 p.m.
2:30 — 3:00 p.m.
3:00 — 3:45 p.m.
Panel: How Resilient Are Private Markets?
Public markets have behaved badly over the past year, marked by volatility and uncertainty. Private markets, in contrast, have been relatively calm even as rising inflation and interest rates have taken their toll on the global economy. Given what’s been happening elsewhere, how are private markets holding up, and are they set to deliver the long‑term returns and stability asset owners need right now?
- Koblavi Fiagbedzi, Portfolio Manager, Head of Real Assets, CBC Pension Plan
3:45 — 4:15 p.m.
CLC Leader Session: Making an Impact with Members
From high inflation to an economic downturn, many pension funds are under pressure to communicate these changes to members, particularly after a decade of supportive capital markets. This session will address the importance of the member relationship and how best to help them understand the benefits and the long‑term value of their plans.
- Sean Hewitt, CEO, TTC Pension Plan
4:15 — 4:30 p.m.
Final Thoughts and Closing Remarks
Evening Cocktail Reception
8:45 — 9:00 a.m.
Welcome Back — Presentation of Takeaways
9:00 — 9:30 a.m.
CLC Leader Session: From Purpose to Action
The University Pension Plan has put a major focus on sustainable investing in the form of a climate action plan and strong communication about responsible investing to its members. This session will explore the work that’s been done so far, lessons learned along the way, and whether or not the economic and financial market challenges of 2022 and 2023 will impact the path forward for UPP.
- Aaron Bennett, Chief Investment Officer, University Pension Plan
9:30 — 10:15 a.m.
Panel: The Disorderly Transition — The Future of Sustainable Investing
The path to net zero seems to be getting longer as the pace of global emissions reduction slows. Supply chain issues, economic turmoil, and geopolitical strife certainly don’t help. This session will explore the state of sustainable investing, the challenges for investors right now, and whether or not the targets set by policymakers are realistic and achievable — particularly in a resource‑driven economy like Canada’s.
- Matt Christ, Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income, Ninety One
10:15 — 10:45 a.m.
10:45 — 11:00 a.m.
11:00 — 11:30 a.m.
CLC Leader Session: The Future of Canada’s Resource Sector
Canada’s resource industry is a significant part of the Canadian economy. This session will explore how Canada’s energy leaders are responding to the global energy transition and the pressure from investors to align with increasingly strict ESG criteria.
- Derek Evans, CEO, MEG Energy
- David Harquail, Chair of the Board of Directors, Franco‑Nevada
- John McCluskey, CEO, Alamos Gold
- Maureen Jensen, Board member, Franco‑Nevada; Former Chair, Ontario Securities Commission
11:30 a.m. — Noon
CLC Leader Session: A Sustainable Path for Canadian Energy
- Evan Siddall, CEO, AIMCo
Noon — 12:15 p.m.
12:15 — 1:15 p.m.
Chair, Rio Tinto &
Chair, LeapFrog Investments
Rio Tinto &
Dominic is Chair of Rio Tinto and the Chair of LeapFrog Investments, an impact-investment firm focused on emerging markets.
Dominic recently completed his role as the Ambassador of Canada to the People’s Republic of the China. He was appointed by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019 until 2021.
He was a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and served as Global Managing Partner from 2009 to 2018.
He served as Chairman of Teck Resources and as Non-Executive Director at the Singtel Group (Singapore) and Investor AB (Sweden). He was also an Advisory Board Member of the Olayan Group, a private family-owned company. He is also the Chancellor of the University of Waterloo, was the Chair of Standard Chartered Bank’s International Advisory Council. He was the Chair of the Canadian Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth and was Chair of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council.
He was a Senior Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, and a member of the boards of Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
He is one of the founders of FCLT Global (Focusing Capital on the Long Term), has co-authored four books, including Talent Wins, published in 2018 and is also an Adjunct Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is the recipient of 8 honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and the University of Edinburgh, among others.
He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA Honours in economics and has a M.Phil in Economics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Former President and CEO,
Asia Pacific Foundation
Former High Commissioner to India, and former CEO
Asia Pacific Foundation
Stewart Beck is the former President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Prior to joining APF Canada, Stewart served as the Canadian High Commissioner to the Republic of India with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Bhutan and to Nepal. He joined Canada’s Department of External Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada) in 1982 and served abroad in the United States, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China.
In Ottawa, he held a number of progressively more senior positions, including Director General of the North Asia Bureau, Director General Responsible for Senior Management and Rotational Assignments, and Assistant Deputy Minister for International Business Development, Investment, and Innovation. He was Consul General in Shanghai and prior to his posting to India, he was Consul General in San Francisco.
Chief Investment Officer, University Pension Plan
Chief Investment Officer
University Pension Plan (UPP)
Aaron Bennett is UPP’s Chief Investment Officer and leads all aspects of UPP’s global investment strategy and operations. A seasoned portfolio manager, Aaron brings over 16 years of investment experience, with expertise in strategic asset allocation and responsible investing.
Across his roles at Jarislowsky Fraser Global Investment Management, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and mid-sized Canadian investment banks, Aaron has supported systemic and robust investment analysis, policy formulation and strategic implementation across portfolios and asset classes.
Aaron holds a B.Sc Honours (Biology) from Queen’s University, an MBA from the Ivey School of Business Western University, and is a CFA Charterholder.
Adam Berger, CFA
Senior Managing Director and Asset Allocation Strategist, Wellington Management
Senior Managing Director, Partner, Multi-Asset Strategist, and Portfolio Manager
Adam leads Wellington’s team of multi-asset strategists globally. The team’s objective is to help our clients achieve better investment outcomes by providing them with relevant research, analysis, and advice. As a strategist, he focuses on public pensions and other total-return-oriented investors. He develops research from an allocator’s perspective, advises clients and prospects on a range of investment policy and governance issues, and serves as the portfolio manager for bespoke multi-manager investment solutions, helping to bring iStrat’s team-based process to bear on a client’s specific objectives and constraints.
Before joining the firm in 2012, Adam was the head of Portfolio Solutions at AQR Capital Management, where he delivered innovative research and ideas to existing and prospective investors and served on the Investment Committee of an early fund focused on alternative risk premia. Previously, at Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), he served as a research strategist in Global Investment Strategies and as chief of staff to the heads of GSAM. During his 11 years at Goldman Sachs, he also worked in the firm’s Pension Services Group and Equities Division.
Adam earned his MBA, with honors, with a concentration in finance from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton). He earned his AB in philosophy, magna cum laude, from Harvard College. Additionally, he holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Olga Bitel is a global strategist. She is responsible for economic research and analysis across all regions and sectors. She distills macroeconomic and geopolitical developments into actionable insights for global equity portfolios within a multifaceted strategic framework. In addition, she provides insights about cyclical turning points and structural trends as inputs into portfolio construction in predominantly bottom-up investment approaches.
Before joining William Blair in 2009, Olga was a senior economist at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London, United Kingdom, where she produced macroeconomic forecasts for most Asian economies and led thematic research projects for some of the world’s best-known international organizations, including the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Monetary Fund.
Olga received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income, Ninety One
Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income
Matt Christ is a portfolio manager in the Fixed Income team at Ninety One responsible for supporting the growth of the existing Emerging Markets Corporate effort and building the team’s illiquid, private and special situations credit expertise with a strong focus on the decarbonization of emerging markets. Given that over half of current emissions are in emerging markets and the sizable funding gap required to reach Net Zero, there is an addressable and largely untapped market which Matt spends much of his time on. He leads the debt financing efforts to help reduce the carbon profiles of today’s high emitters and to develop new infrastructure and technologies for credible transition paths, creating meaningful impact for real-world carbon reduction.
Prior to joining Ninety One, Matt worked for Gramercy Funds Management as a portfolio manager focusing on opportunistic emerging market credit. Before this he was a portfolio manager at BlackRock responsible for the fixed income portfolios of insurance clients.
Matt graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French and Columbia Business School with an MBA where he was also a graduate of the Value Investing Program.
Head of Global Quantitative Equity, Mackenzie Investments
Head of Global Quantitative Equity
Arup heads the Mackenzie Global Quantitative Equity Team which provides quantitative investment capabilities in Global and Emerging Markets equities.
Arup has over 25 years of experience in quantitative equity investing. Between 1992 and 2012 he was a Quantitative Analyst, Portfolio Manager, Director of US and Director of Portfolio Management with Man Numeric, where he managed capacity-constrained equity strategies (traditional long only, active extension and hedge funds) in all capitalization strata and regions of the world. In 2012, Arup founded Agriya Investors, a firm focused on global equities, which eventually became the global/international arm of AJO. As Chief Investment Officer - International, Arup launched capacity-constrained equity strategies in emerging and developed markets.
Arup joined Mackenzie in September 2017 to head the Global Quantitative Equity Team.
Arup has a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, and earned an MBA with distinction from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. He is a CFA charterholder.
President and Chief Executive Officer, MEG Energy
President and Chief Executive Officer
Derek Evans is the President and Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of MEG Energy Corp. as well as a director of Franco‑Nevada Corp. He is a veteran oil and gas industry executive with over 40 years of experience. He served as President & CEO and a director of Pengrowth Energy Corp. from 2009 to March 2018, where he led the Company through a major transformation, streamlining its asset base from 35 properties to two growth assets, with over $9 billion of development opportunities.
Prior to joining Pengrowth, Derek was the President, CEO and Director of Focus Energy Trust, a dividend paying royalty trust company. During his tenure at Focus, Derek was successful in increasing the market valuation approximately five times, while distributing more than $400 million to unitholders. Derek is also active in not-for-profit organizations and is a long serving board member of MaRS, one of Canada’s largest collaboration and innovation hubs.
Mr. Evans holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from Queen’s University, is a registered professional engineer in Alberta, and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors with an ICD.D designation.