Past Event: DC Investment Forum

September 26-27, 2019
St. Regis Hotel, Toronto

Benefits Canada is pleased to announce the 12th Annual Defined Contribution Investment Forum.

Read coverage from the event

Planning for success

The 2019 Defined Contribution Investment Forum will examine critical issues facing DC plans today and in the future. Learn about the latest trends in behavioural finance and member engagement, as well as new perspectives on investment opportunities and risk and performance considerations. This event will provide participants with the information they need to maximize success and elevate their plans.


The event is free for senior DC plan decision-makers.


Attendance is subject to approval. Please contact Alison Webb.

TwitterTweet questions before or during the event to #DCIF19 and @BenCanMag.

DC Investment Forum

September 26-27, 2019
St. Regis Hotel, Toronto


Thursday, September 26, 2019

5:30-8:30 p.m.
Opening cocktail reception and dinner
(The Bay Room - 30th floor)


Friday, September 27, 2019

7:45-8:40 a.m.
Breakfast and registration
(St. Regis Ballroom - 10th floor)

8:45-9:00 a.m. 
Opening remarks and icebreaker
(St. Regis Ballroom - 10th floor)

9:00-10:00 a.m.
The distraction economy: How to regain attention in a noisy world
Defining the distraction economy – what does this mean and what is the cost of failed focus? Explaining technology designed for addiction – what can we learn from tech companies about the psychology of digital distraction? Featuring five tech trends rewiring our brains – what will grab our attention in 2019 and beyond?
Harnessing five tech tactics to foster engagement – how do we leverage this tech to foster financial literacy?

Amber Mac,
adaptation and digital innovation expert

10:00-10:30 a.m.
Insights into using specialty asset classes in DC plan member allocations
With ever-evolving market conditions and muted forward-looking return expectations, traditional building blocks may no longer be enough for DC plan members’ portfolios. As an industry, we need to look beyond. During this session, Chhad Aul will provide insights into the use of specialty asset classes, such as real estate and private debt. These non-traditional portfolio building blocks provide differentiated sources of return versus traditional asset classes and, when added to a portfolio, can help enhance risk-adjusted returns. 


Chhad Aul, vice-president, portfolio management, Sun Life Global Investments

[Download Chhad's Presentation.]

10:30-11:00 a.m.
Networking break
(St. Regis Foyer)

11:00-11:30 a.m.
Insights into U.S. DC plan sponsors — Three questions to consider
Whether in the U.S. or Canada, each plan sponsor has a different set of circumstances to consider in the oversight of their DC plan. This session will ask — and answer — three strategic, straightforward questions that merit further examination by plan sponsors. Employers that can address who they are solving for, how they define and prioritize risk in pursuit of better outcomes and what role they want to have in their participants’ retirement journey will be well-positioned to make informed decisions linked to plan objectives.

Lorie Latham, senior defined contribution strategist, T. Rowe Price 

[Download Lorie's Presentation.]


11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Gender and millennials
This session will highlight the differences between women and men in defined contribution pension plans and compare generational trends in defined contribution behaviour. During this session, Jean Young will review the impact of automatic savings and enrolment options on gender and generational differences and the impact of innovation on millennial participants.

Jean Young, senior research associate, Vanguard Center for Investor Research


(St. Regis Ballroom - 10th floor)

1:00-1:30 p.m.
Using alternative assets across the retirement savings journey
This session will cover the benefits and challenges of incorporating alternative assets as part of a retirement savings strategy. It will discuss the relevance of alternative assets at different stages of the retirement journey and how the potential benefits may change in different market environments

Ed Studd, solutions manager, U.S. portfolio solutions, Schroders 

[Download Ed's Presentation.]

1:30-2:10 p.m.
The evolving legal landscape for DC plans
Defined contribution pension plans are an important contributor to the retirement security of Canadians and the growth of these plans is starting to attract greater attention from legislators and regulators alike.  In this session, Jon Marin, a senior associate at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, will discuss the legal regime governing the investment of defined contribution pension plans with a focus on how recent legislative and regulatory developments will impact current pension governance/investment trends, risks and best practices.  This session will discuss how recent changes will impact various stakeholders, including plan sponsors, administrators and investment professionals.

Jon Marin, associate, pension and benefits, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

[Download Jon's Presentation.]

2:10-2:25 p.m.
Closing remarks
(St. Regis Ballroom - 10th floor)

DC Investment Forum Speakers

Opening keynote:


Amber Mac

Amber Mac

Amber Mac is a writer, podcaster, entrepreneur and digital maverick whose understanding of disruptive technologies helps companies anticipate lightning-quick changes as they come – from artificial intelligence (AI), to social media, to Amazon-era retail. Disruption means to interrupt the normal course of things, and Mac is especially fluent in the art of disruptive strategies. Mac started her career in San Francisco and Boston during the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. What others thought was a trend, she recognized as an explosion. As a strategist for Razorfish and director of marketing for an e-procurement software company, she spent four years in the technology start-up trenches. Mac eventually left the start-up world to join Microsoft to build one of the first female-focused lifestyle portals. Then, she launched her own digital media agency. The company’s first client was world-renowned business coach Tony Robbins. Since then, her client list also includes Microsoft, Intel, Shopify, Ford, Nintendo, GE, Fast Company, PayPal, Scotiabank, and many more leading organizations. An insatiable media adopter, Mac is currently host of the top-rated (and award-winning) podcast, The AI Effect, now in its second season. The AI effect explores the Canadian AI ecosystem and the extraordinary pace of its technological growth, focusing on the rewards and perils for individuals, businesses, and society. With her co-host, Jodie Wallis of Accenture, Mac interviews guests like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Joelle Pineau of the Facebook AI Research Lab, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and many others about the challenges and benefits of AI adoption in Canada. In 2019, The AI Effect won Best Technology Podcast series at the Canadian Podcast Awards, beating out hundreds of other podcasts. Mac is the author of the national bestseller Power Friending and Outsmarting Your Kids Online. Mac has delivered keynotes at more than 300 events around the world, including an event this spring where she interviewed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Shopify chief executive officer, Toby Lutke, about the future of digital. Mac’s expertise includes business innovation, artificial intelligence, the distraction economy, and what it takes for companies to adapt and grow. In 2018, DMZ named Mac one of 30 inspirational women making a difference in tech. She is a regular business host and expert for Fast Company, Shopify, CNN, Bloomberg TV, CBS, BNN, The Marilyn Denis Show, and SiriusXM Radio and has more than two million social media followers online.




Chhad Aul

Chhad Aul

Chhad Aul is the vice-president of portfolio management and a portfolio manager at Sun Life Global Investments. In this role, Aul oversees Sun Life Global Investment’s asset allocation strategies with a specific focus on Sun Life granite managed solutions and Sun Life milestone funds. When Aul joined the company in 2014, he brought with him deep expertise in quantitative strategies, asset allocation and investing with derivatives. He uses these strengths to build and manage sophisticated solutions for Canadian investors seeking broadly-diversified portfolios. To increase investor knowledge, Aul also travels extensively across Canada to discuss the market and his team’s investment process with advisors and consultants. Prior to joining Sun Life Global Investments, Aul was vice-president and senior portfolio manager at State Street Global Advisors, where he managed a broad number of equity strategies – from traditional long-only funds to alternative strategies and hedge funds. Earlier, he was associate portfolio manager at Hillsdale Investment Management and a quantitative analyst at TD Securities. Aul holds a bachelor of science in engineering science and a master of mathematical finance, both from the University of Toronto. He also holds the chartered financial analyst designation.


Lorie Latham

Lorie Latham

Lorie Latham is a senior defined contribution strategist for the Americas division of T. Rowe Price, the organization responsible for the firm's institutional business worldwide. In this role, she serves as a subject matter expert and thought leader on large-market defined contribution issues and consults with key institutional relationships on a range of strategy and policy matters. Latham is a vice-president of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc. and T. Rowe Price Canada. Latham has over 29 years of industry experience. Prior to joining the firm in 2016, Latham served as a defined contribution strategy leader and director at Towers Watson Investment Services (TWIS), where she provided a full range of investment consulting services to defined contribution plans and led the defined contribution steering committee responsible for TWIS's strategy and thought leadership. Previously, she was a vice-president with Ibbotson Associates and led the plan sponsor consulting practice and the portfolio construction team for managed accounts. Prior to this, she was a senior portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan. Latham earned a bachelor of science in financial services and marketing from Wright State University. She also holds the chartered financial analyst designation and is a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute.


Jon Marin

Jon Marin

Jon Marin is an associate at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, practicing exclusively in the pensions and employee benefits law area. As such, he provides advice on legal and regulatory issues affecting all aspects of provincially and federally regulated pension plans and other employee benefit plans. Marin deals with issues such as plan design, governance and administration, plan investments, pension de-risking, plan wind ups, plan compliance, as well as pension and benefit issues arising in corporate transactions generally, including acquisitions, divestitures, mergers and corporate reorganizations.


Ruthann Pritchard

Ruthann Pritchard

Ruthann Pritchard is an institutional portfolio manager in the Global Asset Allocation (GAA) group at Fidelity Investments. In this role, Ruthann serves as a member of the investment management team, maintaining a deep knowledge of portfolio philosophy, process, and construction, assisting portfolio managers and their CIOs in ensuring portfolios are managed in accordance with client expectations, and contributing to investment thought leadership in support of the team. She is also a principal liaison for portfolio management to a broad range of current and prospective clients and internal partners, providing detailed portfolio reviews and serving as a key conduit of client objectives, requirements, and marketplace insight back to the investment team. Ruthann’s focus is on Target Date strategies.


Ed Studd

Ed Studd

Ed Studd is the solutions manager for U.S. portfolio solutions at Schroders.  He joined Schroders London in 2016 and moved to New York in 2018 to join the portfolio solutions group. He is responsible for developing and delivering solutions that address the strategic asset allocation, liability hedging and downside risk management needs of Schroders’ clients. He is also responsible for the development and ongoing management of Schroders' Canadian target date fund strategies. Prior to Schroders, Studd was an associate at Goldman Sachs International, which involved providing strategic investment and risk management advice to UK and European pension funds. Prior to this, he was an investment consultant at Towers Watson, which involved providing advice on the structure and implementation of LDI strategies for UK pension funds. Earlier in his career he was an actuarial analyst at KPMG, which involved valuing pension liabilities, pension accounting and working on liability management exercises. Studd is a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, holds the chartered enterprise risk analyst designation and has a bachelor of science in mathematics and economics from London School of Economics.


Jean Young

Jean Young

Jean Young is a senior research associate at the Vanguard Center for Investor Research. The Center conducts and sponsors research on investor behaviour and decision-making. It also works to apply behavioural insights to real-world settings. The Center’s scope includes individual investors (whether direct, advised, or in defined contribution plans) and institutional investors. The Center’s work will be of interest to investors, advisers, consultants, employers, media, the research community and policymakers. Young’s research interests include the design of employer-sponsored retirement programs and the psychological and behavioural aspects of investor decision-making. She is also the lead author for our annual publication How America Saves. Young has been with Vanguard since 1996 and prior to joining the Center in 2003, was a client relationship manager in Vanguard’s defined contribution recordkeeping business. Young has a bachelor of arts in business administration from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and a master of science in taxation from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. She is a chartered professional accountant.  

Event Location

The 2019 DC Investment Forum will take place at the St. Regis Hotel in Toronto.

Visit the St. Regis Hotel website for more information


325 Bay St, Toronto, ON
M5H 4G3

St. Regis Hotel, Toronto


With further inquiries about event logistics, please contact Joanne Merrick, Event Manager.