Global Investment Conference

April 12-14, 2023 | Fairmont Chateau Whistler, British Columbia

All times listed below are in Pacific Time.
April 12, 2023

6:00 – 9:30 PM:

Opening cocktails and dinner (The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre)

April 13, 2023

7:00 – 7:45 AM:

Speaker rehearsal (Frontenac C)

7:00 – 8:00 AM:

Breakfast (Frontenac B)

8:00 – 8:30 AM:

Opening remarks and icebreaker (Frontenac C)

8:30 – 9:30 AM:

The world at a crossroads

In this keynote session, David McWilliams will review the big global issues on the economic, financial and political fronts and consider the implication of these big mega trends on the economy and markets.

Speaker: David McWilliams, economist, broadcaster, bestselling author

9:30 – 10:00 AM:

Exploring a new asset class: Aviation leasing

Aviation has just gone through the greatest shock in its history which continues to create opportunity. While pension funds may own traditional infrastructure assets such as buildings, bridges and toll roads, aircraft leasing is another asset class available to sophisticated investors. Over the last 20 years, aviation leasing has showed low correlation to public markets broadly and low correlations to airlines themselves. Long-term contracted cash flows backed by moveable hard assets make this an attractive alternative fixed income investment. This session will present the opportunities and return/risk profile of aviation leasing.

Speaker: James McManus, managing director, AB CarVal

10:00 – 10:30 AM:

We have been expecting you, Mr. Bond! Seven opportunities in global fixed income

Fixed income is back as an attractive asset class. This session will look at which macro factors are likely to drive fixed income going forward and discuss seven interesting opportunities in global fixed income.

Speaker: Benoit Anne, lead strategist, investment solutions group, MFS Investment Management

10:30 – 11:00 AM:

Networking break (Frontenac Foyer)

11:00 – 11:30 AM:

Transitioning to a new paradigm demands agility

There’s a new market regime today characterized by higher trend inflation, rates normalization, liquidity withdrawals, de-globalization and elevated volatility. These factors present the potential for non-U.S. equity markets to perform better relative to U.S. peers, especially as non-U.S. equity valuations still appear attractive on a relative basis and local currencies have room to appreciate. In this session, Justin Thomson will share unique investment opportunities across international equity markets and underscore the risk of being offside from a diversification standpoint as we potentially enter a new paradigm in equity markets.

Speaker: Justin Thomson, head of international equity and chief investment officer, T. Rowe Price

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM:

Regime shift: Investing in a new economic era

If you’re thinking about investing in the current evolving world, think about what you did over the last decade and do the opposite. A regime shift is underway, one that investors will need to understand in order to find the best opportunities and safeguard their portfolios. In this session, Mina Krishnan will dig into the secular forces that we expect will define the coming years as a new economic regime unfolds.

Speaker: Mina Krishnan, multi-asset portfolio manager, Schroders

12:00 – 1:00 PM:

Lunch (Wildflower Restaurant)

1:00 – 1:30 PM:

Divesting without sacrificing returns

Since 2014, Simon Fraser University has committed to responsible investing and to reduce 45% investment carbon footprint by 2025. In 2019, the university further announced it would divest its endowment portfolio of all fossil fuel assets by 2025 and increase its allocation to socially responsible investment funds. In this session, Jacky Shen will discuss how he’s working to achieve this mandate without sacrificing returns.

 Speaker: Jacky Shen, treasurer and director of investment, Simon Fraser University

1:30 – 2:00 PM:

Liquidity and private market allocations in times of stress

In light of the public markets’ correction in 2022 and the fact that private markets have not experienced a notable repricing, many pension plans went from an under allocation to an over allocation to private markets. Given the illiquidity nature of the private markets, managing the plan’s liquidity becomes top of mind to ensure the portfolio stays aligned with the strategic long-term asset allocation. This session will provide insights on liquidity management and the role of cash in today’s environment as well as providing an alternate solution to solve the under/over allocation to private markets.

Speaker: Rémi Tétreault, director, client solutions, Trans-Canada Capital

2:00 – 2:30 PM:

Considerations for investing in China and the new era of emerging markets

Global emerging markets have changed materially in the recent decades in terms of investment opportunities, risks and asset classes. The evolution of Chinese equities, specifically the China A-Shares market, offers attractive opportunities for global investors. These include large, fast growth, high liquidity, low correlation and high inefficiency. They also provide unique and broad exposure to several investible themes in the new economy of China, such as emerging consumer, innovations and energy transition. However, these opportunities also come with risks. Active management with a quality growth focus is an effective way to capture the best investment opportunities with favorable risk reward in China. In this session, Vivian Lin Thurston will provide a comprehensive and in-depth review of these topics related to China and EM investing.

Speaker: Vivian Lin Thurston, portfolio manager, emerging markets growth, William Blair

2:30 – 3:00 PM:

Networking break (Frontenac Foyer)

3:00 – 3:30 PM:

Secondary private equity: Tailwind in the current environment

This session will provide a secondary market update and examine how several factors, including overcommitment, re-up pressures and slowing distributions, are creating an attractive environment for secondary market participants.

 Speaker: Simon Oak, principal, Lexington Partners

3:30 – 4:00 PM:

Blueprint for better pensions: Sustainable innovations in the Canadian pension model

Valuable and sustainable lifetime pensions are more important than ever, but what is the best way to deliver better pensions? In this session, Derek Dobson will explore the unique attributes of the Canadian pension model and opportunities to deliver more value that better serve the retirement needs of Canadians.

Speaker: Derek Dobson, chief executive officer and plan manager, CAAT Pension Plan

6:00 – 9:30 PM:

Cocktails and dinner reception (Bearfoot Bistro)

April 14, 2023

7:00 – 7:45 AM:

Speaker rehearsal (Frontenac C)

7:00 – 8:00 AM:

Breakfast (Frontenac B)

8:00 – 8:30 AM:

How will the rise in remote work impact real estate markets? (Frontenac C)

Work from home is a crucial legacy of the pandemic. As a result, office occupancy rates have declined sharply in every large Canadian and U.S. city and the future of central business districts remains uncertain. As real estate investors lost hope in a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, office REITs markedly underperformed the market in 2022.

In this session, Victor Couture will cover the latest remote work trends in North America and discuss recent scholarly work on the impact of remote work on office, retail and residential real estate markets, across and within metropolitan areas.

Speaker: Victor Couture, assistant professor of economics, University of British Columbia

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Canada’s housing trajectory: Headwinds and tailwinds

In this session, Aaron Pittman will provide a brief review of macroeconomic determinants and their influence on the long-term outlook for Canada’s housing sector.

Speaker: Aaron Pittman, institutional asset management executive, Canadian institutional investments, Equiton

9:00 – 9:30 AM:

The biophysics of sustainability

Biophysical economics is focused on integrating natural sciences with economics to produce reality-based outcomes. Systems thinking, energy returns and life cycle analysis are some of the key concepts that this new school of economic thought embraces.

This session will discuss the importance of understanding energy as a first principal framework and how this framework highlights intriguing insights and investment opportunities in cutting edge areas such as material science, nuclear fusion and electrification. Patrick Kent will reinforce the overall idea that this subject will be a strong foundation for the next generation’s global equity portfolios.

Speaker: Patrick Kent, portfolio manager, head of small cap equities team, Newton Investment Management Group

9:30 – 10:00 AM:

Risks and opportunities in public and private credit

This session will review the current state of global high yield and where we are relative to history on a risk reward basis. It will also discuss how investors should think about private vs. public high yield opportunities and how opportunities compare across Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia.

Speaker: Karl Dasher, president, Polen Capital

10:00 – 10:30 AM:

Networking break (Frontenac Foyer)

10:30 – 11:00 AM:

Greening European commercial real estate: The great, early opportunity

The real estate sector is on the frontline in Europe’s race to net zero – buildings must be retrofitted at scale in order to meet its 2050 climate targets and the real estate market has barely begun. This session will discuss the structural trends driving the “greening” of the commercial real estate sector in Europe, the resultant significant supply/demand imbalance that is being created for green buildings and the opportunity for investors to achieve attractive financial returns as a result of this supply imbalance.

Speaker: Lucy Swinton, investment director, Fidelity International

11:00 – 11:30 AM:

Using proxy votes to steward capital effectively

When it comes to ESG issues, DB plan sponsors are often stuck between a rock and a hard place — fiduciary duty and members' desires for cleaner portfolios. In this session, Christie Stephenson will discuss what plan sponsors can do to ensure their organizations' proxy votes are being used to both improve returns and to push for meaningful changes at investee organizations.

Speaker: Christie Stephenson, executive director, Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, UBC Sauder School of Business

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM:

Building resilient portfolios: From the bottom-up and top-down

In an uncertain world, it is essential for pension investors to construct diversified and resilient portfolios. In this session, Brandon Gill New will discuss how investors can build resilient externally managed portfolios using case studies from emerging markets, credit, multi-strategy investments and more. This session will highlight the importance of manager and strategy selection, portfolio objectives and philosophy and the role of top-down risk-analysis. Gill New will also discuss how to manage external investments through the lifecycle of a fund and how pension investors can build strong, engaged investment teams.

Speaker: Brandon Gill New, director and head of multi-strategy investing and digital assets, OPTrust

12:00 – 1:00 PM:

Lunch (Wildflower Restaurant)

6:00 – 8:30 PM:

Pub night (Portobello Restaurant)

*This agenda is subject to change.