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Pensions Summit 2016

Tuesday April 12 - Wednesday April 13 2016 DoubleTree by Hilton, Toronto Downtown Toronto, Ontario

Summit Overview

Not yet the perfect storm – but the storm clouds are gathering

Conversation has shifted from discussing how well pension funds have recovered from the last crisis to how ready are you for the next one (which might well be now).

This event has helped pension experts navigate the crises of 2000 and 2008 and develop new investing strategies and approaches to rebalance risk and create greater sustainability. In 2016 we will continue this tradition as the environment for pensions globally deteriorates. So while no one knows quite how the future will unfold this event is a key opportunity for you to hear from experts and reflect on the actions you need to take in the coming months to ensure your fund performs as well as possible.

Pensions once again in the headlines

“Opposition to Ontario pension plan growing as support for scheme softens, provincewide poll finds” National Post, August 2015-08-27

“Your Pension Plan: CPP posts flat returns as global stocks, bonds drop” BNN August 2015

“Federal-provincial dispute over Ontario pension plan has to stop” Globe and Mail, August 2015

“Forum survey indicates most voters want pension contributions and benefits increased” London Free Press, August 2015

“Civil service retirees suing province over pension reforms” CBC, August 2015

“Norwegian fund giant puts premium on ethical investing” CBC, August 2015

These headlines, all from the month of August 2015 illustrate the range of challenges facing pensions in the coming months and years. A new initiative in Canada’s largest province, a worsening economic outlook with some talking of another crash and a small but growing move to disinvest from energy companies, combine to create a level of uncertainty not seen in recent years.

Trouble comes in threes—a new yet worryingly familiar environment for investing and pensions

As the federal election continues so Ontario’s pension reforms have become a hot button issue with the Liberals promising support while the Conservatives criticize the initiative as an unwanted tax that will hurt workers and the economy.

In addition the melt down and subsequent increased volatility of the Chinese stock market and its global impact have investors and experts wringing their hands and talking of a crisis to rival 2008.

Thirdly the collapse of oil prices appears to have slammed the brakes on the Canadian economy with Alberta, the growth engine of the country for the last several years, feeling the pain most. Technical arguments continue about whether or not Canada is in a recession, but economists are universally predicting lower than anticipated growth in coming years. And some are even predicting a continued slide in oil prices to below $30 a barrel and a further interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada.

None of these issues will be resolved immediately – though at least the political environment will become clearer after the election on October 19. But they each shine a spotlight on the fact that those in the pension field can never afford to be complacent and that they need to remain constantly vigilant, looking out and preparing for the next crisis.

Whether a new crisis is on the horizon or whether it passes, now is the time to revisit risk and sustainability

An aging workforce makes pension issues more important and urgent. As governments start to take action, employers must revisit their own pension plans. While some employers still have underfunding, slow growth, and low inflation issues, funds must work harder to generate acceptable returns, and plan structures and risk and reward balances need attention.

There’s no shortage of ideas and options. We’ll explore some of the most popular, including target flexible benefits, jointly sponsored pension plans, and target benefit plans.

We’ll also examine how some employers are rethinking their defined contribution plans to provide greater security and reduce costs. This includes initiatives such as lower cost investment options, consolidating investments, and variable benefits.

Learn from the experiences of the experts and your public and private sector peers.

This event consistently attracts leading public and private sector advisors, chief executive and chief financial officers, chief actuaries, ministers and deputy ministers, and international experts to share their thinking and discuss common issues and potential solutions.

The time for change is now, and there’s no better opportunity to hear about the latest issues and innovations, and connect with the pioneers and thought leaders.

Building on success.

The Conference Board is Canada’s most respected independent research and conference development organization. Conference Board events attract top private and public sector experts, and provide an insightful and enlightening learning experience for participants.

The details of this event are subject to change. Please revisit this page periodically for updated information.

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Sponsor this event!

Don’t miss this chance to showcase your organization to some of the top leaders in the country. To learn more about exhibiting, reception and luncheon sponsorship, and exclusive sponsor benefits, please contact Rhonda Bradbury at (416) 481-1904 or