In April, delegates joined academics, asset managers and a former Canadian Prime Minister at the Chateau Fairmont in Lake Louise, Alta., for the Canadian Investment Review’s 2022 Global Investment Conference.
During the event, almost all of the speakers connected with a central theme: the reasons behind the success of Canada’s largest public pension investment organizations — a group commonly referred to as the Maple 8.
To clarify why these plans have, for the past two decades, been so successful, Sebastien Betermier, an associate professor of finance at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, outlined his research on a common approach shared by the plans — the Maple model.
In the other presentations, which covered everything from inflation hedging to low volatility portfolio construction, speakers alluded to ways particular strategies mirrored — and diverged from — the Maple model. To add to the excitement, three members of the exclusive club also shared the approaches to hot-button issues being pursued by their investment organizations.
The only presentation that didn’t address the theme was the day one keynote address. In it, former Prime Minister Joe Clark focused on making a case for Canada to reclaim its role as a leader on the world’s stage. One piece of advice seemed tailor-made for the ears of the representatives of the Maple 8 plans — each of which generate annual returns higher than the gross domestic products of most countries.
“Recall how fragile some of the circumstances in other parts of the world now are. Consider what might be done — and who might do it.”
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