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Railpen's new investment chief on transformation, governance and culture – Top1000funds.com

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Michelle Ostermann, managing director of investments at Railpen which manages £30 billion in assets for the Railways Pension Schemes in the UK, discusses the pension fund’s continued evolution.

In this Fiduciary Investors Series podcast Amanda White talks to Michelle about the organisational change at Railpen – including more assets in-house, a new investment decision making framework, and an increased allocation to private assets – the importance of culture, and the intimate relationship between the fiduciary management and investment teams.

About Michelle Ostermann

Michelle Ostermann is responsible for the overall management and continuing development of the Railway Pension Scheme’s investment management capability. Her primary focus is to ensure it attracts and retains the best possible talent to achieve the long-term investment goals.She joined Railpen in January 2019 as chief fiduciary officer and was appointed managing director in December 2019. She has 25 years’ experience in the investment, insurance and pension industries. She joined Railpen from British Columbia Investment Management Corporation where she was senior vice president responsible for investment risk, strategy, research, and corporate relations. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

About Amanda White
Amanda White is responsible for the content across all Conexus Financial’s institutional media and events. In addition to being the editor of Top1000funds.com, she is responsible for directing the global bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium which challenges global investors on investment best practice and aims to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts.  She holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Masters of Art in Journalism and has been an investment journalist for more than 25 years. She is currently a fellow in the Finance Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. The two-year program seeks to develop the next generation of responsible, community-spirited leaders in the global finance industry.

What is the Fiduciary Investors series?

The much-loved events, the Fiduciary Investors Symposiums, act as an advocate for fiduciary capitalism and the power of asset owners to change the nature of the investment industry, including addressing principal/agent and fee problems, stabilising financial markets, and directing capital for the betterment of society and the environment. Like the event series, the podcast series, tackles the challenges long-term investors face in an environment of disruption,  and asks investors to think differently about how they make decisions and allocate capital.

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Download Bitcoin Investment App for Online Trading – Net Newsledger

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ROGER TAYLOR: CPP's investment head says sticking with oil and gas companies will help wind, solar development – Cape Breton Post

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Climate change is important to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, but it’s not ready to divest of its holdings in conventional oil and gas.

Although a segment of the Canadian population may want the CPPIB to drop conventional energy, the board’s top spokesman says its investment decisions are not necessarily motivated by politics or a change in public policy.

Michel Leduc, CPPIB senior managing director and global head of public affairs and communications, said in a phone interview on Monday that conventional energy sources are not going away as quickly as some people may believe, and oil and gas will have a role in the global economy for some time to come.

Michel Leduc is senior managing director and global head of public affairs and communications at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. – Contributed

It is the investment board’s view that conventional oil and gas is still a good investment, providing a good return for years to come, said Leduc, and the board will maintain such investments.

The conventional oil and gas companies are making the switch to unconventional wind and solar energy themselves, Leduc argued, so if the CPPIB was to cut its investment in such companies it would actually help slow the transition from conventional to renewable energy.

The subject of energy may come up again Tuesday when Leduc hosts a CPPIB virtual town hall for Nova Scotians, during which he will explain what the investment board is doing with its $430-billion fund.

Every second year, the CPPIB holds public meetings individually for each province and the northern territories throughout October. Nova Scotia is the second last of year’s presentations.

There are a total of 20 million CPP contributors and beneficiaries in Canada and, of that, there are 461,799 contributors and 220,693 retirement beneficiaries in Nova Scotia.

Leduc said that despite the economic concern brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the solvency and sustainability of the Canada Pension Plan is on solid footing for at least the next 75 years.

Before the creation of the CPPIB in 1997, the Canada Pension Plan was 100 per cent invested in government debt, Leduc said. To better prepare for so-called black swan events, such as a pandemic, the investment board has diversified the fund.

The fund is invested in three broad categories: 20 per cent in fixed income, which is mainly sovereign bonds and provincial bonds; 53 per cent in equities, both publicly traded stocks and private companies wholly controlled by the CPPIB; and the remainder would be in real assets, which includes toll roads, commercial real estate and ports, which provide steady income for a long period.

Geographically, only about 15 per cent of the CPPIB’s investments are in Canada, Leduc said, and about 85 per cent is invested across the developed economies of the world.

Considering that Canada represents only about three per cent of global markets, most of the CPPIB investments are outside of the country to be fully diversified and protect the fund from downturns in the Canadian economy.

The largest portion of the outside investments are in the United States, followed by Europe, Japan, South Korea and then developing countries, which includes China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

In Canada, the fund is invested in both conventional and renewable energy, the financial sector and technology, including Ottawa-based tech darling Shopify, Leduc said.

The CPPIB has a 50 per cent holding in the 401 toll highway in Ontario, which has proven to be the investment board’s biggest return on investment so far, he said.

In Nova Scotia, the fund has investments in Empire Co. Ltd., parent of the Sobeys grocery chain, and Crombie REIT, both of which are controlled by the founding Sobey family of Pictou County.

Internationally, the CPPIB owns 23 ports in the United Kingdom, which also provide steady income over a long period.


CPPIB VIRTUAL TOWN HALL

The virtual Canada Pension Plan Investment Board town halls are accessed at cppinvestments.com/publicmeetings. The Nova Scotia session is scheduled for today from noon to 1 p.m.

To join, click the link for the meeting and register with an email address. Registrants will get a response and can submit a question in advance.

In Nova Scotia, 461,799 residents are CPP contributors (47.9 per cent of the provincial population) and 220,693 are CPP retirement beneficiaries (22.9 per cent of the population).

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Jarvis: A massive, game-changing investment – Windsor Star

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Article content continued

So the third shift is forecast to return in 2024, when mass production of the new vehicle begins. All 425 workers still laid off are expected to have the opportunity to be recalled plus another 1,500 are expected to be hired.

Here’s the but.

Workers will have to weather more layoffs before more jobs come back.

“We’ve got another down week coming. That’s already been announced,” said Dias. “I wish I could say with conviction that everything is going to be fine after the down week, but I really can’t say that.”

Everything is tied to consumer demand. Minivan sales are stable now, he said, “but it’s not like it was.”

There are also questions about the investment, said Automotive News Canada reporter John Irwin.

Normally, when negotiations lead to a new investment, that investment happens before the contract expires. Mass production of the new vehicle announced as part of this contract won’t start until 2024, after the contract expires.

But retooling for the new product will start in 2023, before the contract expires, Dias said.

The auto industry makes these decisions four to five years in advance, he said.

“If we had waited another three years to talk about this investment, it probably would have been in Mexico,” he said.

The agreement also doesn’t identify the vehicle to be produced, only that it will be a plug-in hybrid “and/or” battery-powered electric vehicle.

A key feature is that the platform will be flexible enough to build cars, crossovers or pickups, Dias said.

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