DC Plan Summit

February 21-23, 2023 | Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Quebec

All times listed below are in ET.
February 21, 2023

5:00 – 6:00 PM:

Speaker rehearsal (Outaouais Ballroom)

6:00 – 9:30 PM:

Opening cocktails and dinner (Mezzanine Restaurant area/Heritage Room)

February 22, 2023

7:00 – 8:30 AM:

Breakfast (Aux Chantignoles Restaurant)

8:30 – 9:00 AM:

Opening remarks and icebreaker (Outaouais Ballroom)

9:00 – 10:00 AM:

Why are big decisions so hard to make? 

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says it’s because we trust our gut, which draws on our own limited experience and often leads us astray. But there’s a better way to make decisions. Drawing on sets of thousands — or even millions — of data points, Stephens-Davidowitz will reveal the science-based answers to some of life’s biggest questions.


Seth Stephens-DavidowitzNew York Times’ bestselling author and former Google data scientist

10:00 – 10:30 AM:

Helping plan members mind the gap – the manageable risk gap

Canada, and indeed the rest of the world, is experiencing yet another round of volatile markets. As if conflict with Russia and the lingering side-effects of COVID-19 aren’t enough to deal with, governments are battling inflation with several rounds of interest rate hikes. Whether they’ll win is still unknown and all of this uncertainty is putting members’ retirement savings at risk.

While market volatility, inflation and member behaviours have long been considered risks over which pension plan providers have no control, there’s more the industry can do to help educate members so they can retire well. This session will demonstrate how DC providers can step up, redefine and take a more active role in managing the risks that are challenging plan members, while educating them so they feel confident.


Elisha Ribeiro, national director, group customer, Canada Life

Christine van Staden, regional vice-president, group customer, national accounts business development, Canada Life

10:30 – 11:00 AM:

Networking break (Foyer Outaouais)

11:00 – 11:30 AM:

The design experiment

This session will be an investigation into a very basic question about our industry: Why are we here? For more than 40 years, DC plans have aimed to help employees save for retirement. Can we go another 40 years with the same objective?


Marc-Antoine Morin, assistant vice-president, product development, group retirement solutions, Manulife

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM:

A global view on decumulation: What can Canada learn from the rest of the world?

Retirement income and decumulation strategies are continuing to gain attention in the Canadian marketplace. This session will suggest and discuss lessons Canadian defined contribution pension plan sponsors can learn from other countries’ efforts to meet the ongoing decumulation challenge. This session will also include findings from a global survey that asked plan members about their concerns, perceptions of retirement and the kind of supports they’re looking for to help them plan for retirement.


Jonathan Barry, managing director, head of client solutions, investment solutions group, MFS Investment Management

12:00 – 1:00 PM:

Lunch (Aux Chantignoles Restaurant)

1:00 – 1:30 PM:

AI insights on financial wellness

Stressed Canadian families are found in all income groups. Findings from Western University’s Financial Wellness Lab show two in three Canadian families are financially stressed or financially vulnerable.

This session will review results about the financial wellness of Canadian families obtained by Western University’s Financial Wellness Lab by analyzing large and disparate datasets using modern methods from the artificial intelligence field of machine learning. Although the tools used are rocket science, the results point to age-old truths.

Matt Davison will provide some take-home lessons for employers to mitigate the price tag, measured in the billions, of financial stress in their workforces.


Matt Davison, Western University’s dean of science and principal researcher, Canada’s Financial Wellness Lab

1:30 – 2:10 PM:

McGill University’s search for a comprehensive decumulation solution: A fireside chat with John D’Agata

This session will review McGill University’s search for a comprehensive decumulation solution to service its 10,000-plus plan members. John D’Agata will discuss the university’s unique needs, plan design and support it wanted for plan members in both its defined contribution and defined benefit segments of the hybrid pension plan. The highlights include how McGill introduced a variable benefits plan option, allowing for a seamless member experience with the assistance and tools provided as plan members transition and prepare for their retirement journey.


John D’Agata, director of pension and benefits, McGill University

Yashar Zarrabian, regional vice-president, Quebec region, Sun Life Financial

2:10 – 2:40 PM:

Demystifying ESG and what it means for capital accumulation plans

Environmental, social and governance, known as ESG, has been dominating headlines over recent years, but what’s its impact on capital accumulation plans? This session will outline what ESG means to pension plan sponsors and members, as well as why it’s important. It will provide real-life examples of how ESG factors translate to the financial performance of companies and why they’re a critical part of a robust investment process. The session will conclude by discussing the growing interest from stakeholders in ESG and how plan sponsors can ensure they’re prepared to meet an evolving set of demands.


Aaron White, vice-president, sustainable investments, CIBC Asset Management Inc.

2:40 – 3:10 PM:

Networking break (Foyer Outaouais)

3:10 – 3:40 PM:

The path forward: Exploring secular trends and the impacts on retirement outcomes

Retirement outcomes for defined contribution plan members are driven by plan design, member behaviour and investment returns earned over decades. This session will highlight some of the long-term forces that could shape investing over the decades to come. It will explore secular trends such as aging demographics, inflation and geopolitical shifts, as well as how these forces could impact global investing and ultimately retirement outcomes for DC plan members.


Jon Knowles, senior investment analyst, Fidelity Canada Institutional

3:40 – 4:10 PM:

A DC pension plan for the future: Rolling out PepsiCo Canada’s flexible new DC pension plan

In January 2022, PepsiCo Canada modernized its DC pension plan and group RRSP to make it easier to understand and to provide more flexibility for employee contributions. This session will explore how the company rolled out its innovative new design with a focus on flexibility, competitiveness and inclusivity.


Jaye Calder, manager, Canada benefits and retirement plans, PepsiCo

6:00 – 9:30 PM:

Cocktail reception and dinner (Canada Room)

February 23, 2023

7:30 – 9:00 AM:

Breakfast (Aux Chantignoles Restaurant)

9:00 AM:

Opening remarks (Outaouais Ballroom)

9:00 – 9:30 AM:

How to get more retirement income for life with less risk

During this session, Fred Vettese will explain how members of capital accumulation plans can reduce both investment risk and longevity risk in their retirement years. This session will also make recommendations for both plan sponsors and regulators that will make it easier for individuals to achieve their decumulation goals.


Fred Vettese, author and pension expert

9:30 – 10:00 AM:

Income for life: What DC plan members really need

Decumulation presents defined contribution plan members with additional challenges and questions they didn’t face during their working years as they accumulated assets. This session will cover what makes this phase of an employee’s financial lifecycle uniquely difficult, why it’s so critical for plan sponsors to help their members tackle this phase and the range of options available to address it. It will also share examples of the types of innovation currently being used to address decumulation in Canada and beyond.


Pat Leo, vice-president, Longevity Retirement Solutions

Fraser Stark, president, longevity retirement platform, Purpose Investments Inc.

10:00 – 10:30 AM:

Eight billion reasons capital investment matters again

In the ever-evolving economic landscape, factors such as demographic changes, resource scarcity and ecological limitations are converging to create new risks and historic investment opportunities for defined contribution pension plan sponsors. This session will explore environmental thematic investing at a high level, including identifying and discussing the unintended consequences of not getting it right in order to drive returns and reduce risk in our space.

Speaker: John Cook, senior vice-president, portfolio manager, team co-lead, Greenchip team, Mackenzie Investments

10:30 – 11:00 AM:

Networking break (Foyer Outaouais)

11:00 – 11:30 AM:

Engagement leads to better outcomes

While millennials make up more than 30 per cent of the workforce in Canada today, 70 per cent say they aren’t saving enough for retirement, with nearly a third unable to save at all. Financial stress affects both mental health and productivity at work and can significantly impact employee engagement.

Given the current labour shortage, inflation and higher interest rates, guiding millennials down the path to financial wellness is an absolute must. This session will uncover the ways in which defined contribution plan sponsors can encourage millennials to save more, how they can design an engaging plan and how to adapt current group plans to make an effective talent attraction and retention tool that leads to better financial outcomes.

Speaker: Maria-José Perea, vice-president, product innovation, group retirement savings, Desjardins

11:30 – 12:00 PM:

How Amazon is fostering holistic financial literacy and wellness among employees

With Amazon’s diverse employee demographic — from geographies to net disposable incomes — the level of financial literacy among staff is very wide-ranging and their financial priorities are constantly evolving. In this session, Adam Watson-Smyth will share high level details of several initiatives underway at Amazon, including an emergency savings program and financial wellness concierge service pilot project, as well as the challenges of rolling out savings plans in other global markets and geographies.


Adam Watson-Smyth, benefits program manager for Canada, Amazon

12:00 – 1:00 PM:

Lunch (Canada Room)

4:00 – 6:00 PM:

Optional curling activity

6:00 – 9:00 PM:

Pub night (Canada Room)

This agenda is subject to change.