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Shaping the Future – The Path Forward for Pensions
Today’s global markets are defined by uncertainty and volatility. More than ever before, plan sponsors must find ways to navigate these challenges and stay focused on their long-term objectives. The 2019 Global Investment Conference will explore and address the state of investing right now and will focus on the ideas and strategies that are shaping the future. From geopolitics, to economics, to innovation on the investment front, there are many factors plan sponsors must grapple with as they maintain their long-term focus.
Wednesday, April 3, 2019:
Golf at Bear Mountain Resort (optional – must register)
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Welcome from Canadian Investment Review and cocktails
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 4, 2019:
7:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Registration and breakfast
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Opening remarks and icebreaker #1
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
KEYNOTE – SESSION ONE
From investor to diplomat: Fireside chat with former U.S. Ambassador to Canada
After over 30 years as an investor, Bruce Heyman left the investment world and was named Barack Obama’s U.S. ambassador to Canada in 2014. Since his time in office, he has authored a book about the art of diplomacy and will highlight why now more than ever- diplomacy is crucial – especially as the world is more interconnected than ever, changing fast and is faced with global geopolitical threats. In an increasingly uncertain world, this fireside chat with Heyman will draw on his experiences to put forward insights for navigating the future.
Ambassador Bruce Heyman, Former United States Ambassador to Canada
[NO PRESENTATION AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD.]
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Late cycle investing
The current economic expansion in the U.S. is now the second longest on record. Asset owners are wondering how long it can last and when and why the cycle may turn. In this session, Ashish Tiwari will discuss where we are in the cycle and looks at the most important policy and asset allocation decisions facing investors in today’s market environment.
Ashish Tiwari, executive vice-president, Newport Beach office, PIMCO
10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Contrarian ESG equity investing
Canadian institutional investors have considered ESG investing for many years and, for the most part, have opted for an integrated approach rather than negative screening, dedicated or impact investing. But is there a way to generate alpha in the equity market by identifying ESG opportunities? Michelle Dunstan will take us behind the scenes of ESG in the equity markets. She will describe the mechanics behind the ratings, the implications and the gaps it creates in ESG approaches. She will present some case studies of what happens when a company changes its behaviour – both in terms of its ESG rating and its fundamentals. Key takeaways will be a better understanding of ESG ratings, ideas to generate alpha and how to make a positive impact with your equity portfolio.
Michelle Dunstan, portfolio manager and senior research analyst, AllianceBernstein
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Sustainable investment: ESG in emerging market debt
Investors have largely struggled to connect the dots across countries’ environmental, social and governance characteristics in any overarching or systematic way, particularly in fixed income markets. Recently, however, advisory services and rating agencies have responded to the growing demand for sovereign-based ESG analysis. And that’s likely to grow as investors see direct evidence of a relationship between how sovereigns rank on various ESG criteria and how their bonds perform. Mary-Therese Barton, head of emerging market debt at Pictet Asset Management, will discuss why investors in emerging market sovereign bonds need to pay attention to ESG factors.
Mary-Therese Barton, head of emerging market debt, Pictet Asset Management
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Navigating a troop of gorillas: What investors should do as QE unwinds
Easy monetary policies across the globe have unleashed a troop of 800-pound gorillas to harass capital markets. In doing so, this has created unintended risks and significant opportunities. Get insights on this and three other compounding issues that have heightened concerns of a market disruption. Learn how to also navigate this environment and pursue resulting opportunities. Join expert, Brian Singer, as he discusses the following topics and more: the current market environment and historical perspective, impact of global central bank policies, rules-based strategies, the Volcker Rule and circuit breakers and portfolio positioning – risks and opportunities.
Brian Singer, head of the dynamic allocation strategies team and portfolio manager, William Blair
1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Staying onside in a volatile market: The benefits of diversification and the global fixed income opportunity set
With a return of volatility in the credit and interest rate markets, and low absolute yield levels, the need to diversify one ’s fixed income portfolio is as important as ever. As the Canadian markets are not immune to these disruptive forces, casting a wider net for investment opportunities globally can better position portfolios to potentially deliver greater returns and weather these volatile situations.
Terry Moore, portfolio specialist, global fixed income, T. Rowe Price
2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Climate science and the capital markets
It is becoming increasingly apparent that climate change could have profound effects on assets, economies and the investment landscape, but how should investors and plan sponsors be thinking about the investment implications and opportunities? In this session, Chris Goolgasian, portfolio manager and director of climate research, will discuss the linkages between climate science and asset management. He will also share his views on models that integrate climate and capital markets, ways to think about the time horizon question and potential investment implications.
Chris Goolgasian, portfolio manager and director of climate research, Wellington Asset Management
3:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Deciphering the X factor of ESG: Measuring the costs or benefit of a company’s societal and environmental impact
Corporations do not operate in a vacuum. In today’s instant-access environment, factors like social pressure, governance trends, and government intervention are forcing companies to take responsibility for the costs their actions create. In addition, minimum wage legislation, sugar taxes, gambling restrictions or carbon prices are all spreading, creating financial expenses in place of previously unaccounted social problems. As investors, we think these are meaningful and we look at ways to better extrapolate these indirect fundamental costs in a way to help see the prospective costs or benefits that companies in general may have on society, and ultimately, on shareholders.
Andrew Howard, head of sustainability research, Schroders
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Using secured finance to reach your investment destination
An improving global economic environment and gradual normalization of central bank policy produced a recent period of relative calm for risk assets. However, the increased market volatility experienced during periods of 2018 caused investors to revisit the current path towards their investment destination. Amid the ongoing search for return and the increased focus on managing portfolio risk, institutional investors continue to face the constant trade-off between investing in high quality assets that provide lower returns or pursuing riskier strategies that offer greater return opportunity for meeting financial objectives. In assessing this trade-off, alternative fixed income, including contractual cash flows secured by high quality collateral (e.g., mortgages, car loans, commercial real estate) can offer higher yields with recourse to the underlying assets and control and certainty over the timing of returns, thereby better matching assets to future liabilities. In this session we will discuss the current opportunity for institutional investors to use secured finance as an increasing component of their portfolio for a smoother journey to their investment destination.
Alex Veroude, chief investment officer (U.S.), Insight Investment
Cocktail reception and dinner
Friday, April 5, 2019:
7:00 – 8:30 a.m.
8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Opening remarks and icebreaker #2
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
The best of both worlds: Accessing emerging economies via developed markets
A growing body of evidence suggests that the benefits of international diversification via developed markets have dramatically declined. While emerging markets still offer diversification opportunities, their public equity indices capture only a fraction of economic activity of emerging countries. In this session, Mikhail Simutin will share a diversification approach that exploits the global connectedness of developed countries to gain exposure to emerging countries’ overall economies. In doing so, he will demonstrate that developed markets still offer substantial diversification benefits. His approach suggests that relying on equity indices to assess diversification benefits understates diversification gains.
Mikhail Simutin, associate professor of finance and associate director of research, International Centre for Pension Management at the Rotman School of Management
9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
International exploration – Uncovering great growth opportunities
International equity markets are teeming with opportunities, but there are risks for the indiscriminate investor. The best places to search for growth have changed dramatically. Investors are far more likely to reap rewards if they are looking in the right places to begin with. But simply finding growth is not enough. Businesses need aligned, astute, leaders to succeed in the long-term. Joe Faraday will share his views on the exciting growth opportunities he sees, characteristics of exceptional leaders, and will highlight the importance of curiosity, patience and bravery when investing in international markets.
Joe Faraday, investment manager and client service director, Baillie Gifford & Co.
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Asia’s ESG evolution: Leadership and opportunity
Asia is primed to serve as a hub for environmental and social leadership as the region adds 2 billion more people to its middle class by 2030. Asia’s ESG landscape is quickly evolving as companies seek to deliver goods and services that both improve quality of life and address societal challenges. Climate change, air and water pollution, access to affordable health care and financial inclusion are issues being addressed by homegrown companies across Asia. In this session, Vivek Tanneeru will present findings of on-the-ground research with businesses finding profit in tackling ESG challenges. He will examine the risks and opportunities for institutional investors in key sectors including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, technology, finance and alternative energy. Takeaways from this session will include a deeper understanding of investment risks and opportunities created by Asia’s emerging ESG leadership as well as the reasons why Asia offers one of the best long-term risk-adjusted return opportunities for Canadian investors.
Vivek Tanneeru, portfolio manager, Matthews Asia
10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Portfolio construction considerations for fixed income portfolios for 2019 and beyond
Portfolio construction is an under-utilized source of alpha, that can play a key role in building a more resilient fixed income portfolio with higher risk adjusted returns. Join Sunil Shah, head of Canadian fixed income and senior portfolio manager, as he discusses the following topics: the relevance of the index – the role of active management in reducing the risks and biases associated with focusing on one arbitrary fixed income reference index; local vs. global tradeoff – broadening the portfolio opportunity set by adding other investment options outside of a given market index; holistic vs bolt-on considerations – building a holistic fixed income portfolio in a fully integrated manner that incorporates high-conviction ideas from a broader opportunity set; and lastly, scenario testing – building a portfolio that’s resilient through different market conditions
Sunil Shah, head of Canadian fixed income and senior portfolio manager, Aviva Investors
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Sovereign risks and pension spending
Recently returned from a trip to Brazil, Heather Hagerty will discuss the challenges facing Brazil as it undergoes one of the fastest demographic transitions in the world. With a pension system under strain from age dependency and low retirement age, Brazil could be facing a fiscal crisis and risk of recession if they don’t engage in some form of pension reform to increase its workforce.
Michael Schmitt, investment director, Fidelity Investments
12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
A local view on going global: Fireside chat with the University of Victoria pension plan
Join the University of Victoria for a fireside chat that digs into their investment approach. As a plan that got into alternatives early, learn about how its alternatives strategy has evolved over the years, overcome challenges associated with investing globally and how it manages its current global alternative assets. It’s also an exciting time for the plan as it’s currently undergoing an asset-liability matching study and is looking at potentially adjusting its approach to meet its obligations now and into the future.
Andrew Coward, treasurer, University of Victoria pension plan
Keith Dixon, chair of the Board of Trustees, University of Victoria Combination Pension Plan
Closing remarks followed by lunch
Optional pub night
Location: Irish Times Pub
Address: 1200 Government St, Victoria, BC