The University Pension Plan’s board of trustees has named Barbara Zvan as the inaugural president and chief executive officer of the UPP.
Established on Jan. 1, 2020, the UPP is a new jointly sponsored pension plan designed to enhance the long-term sustainability of Ontario university pensions. The model means shared governance between employer and employee sponsors, giving members a new level of involvement in the governance of their pension plan.
“Barbara Zvan is uniquely qualified to take on this important role,” said Gale Rubenstein, chair of the UPP board of trustees and a partner at Goodmans LLP, in a press release. “Her leadership in the JSPP field and in responsible and sustainable investment is incomparable. The board and I are delighted Barbara has agreed to help lead the UPP as we take our next major step forward to building a sustainable, defined benefit pension plan for Ontario’s university sector.”
The immediate priority of the CEO and board of trustees is to prepare for July 1, 2021, when — conditional on regulatory approvals — the new plan will be fully operational and plan administration, including benefit payments to members and investment of assets, legally becomes the responsibility of the board, according to the release.
“I am thrilled to be taking on this new role with the UPP,” said Zvan. “The successful launch and growth of this new JSPP will help ensure pension sustainability for university sector employees. I look forward to providing high quality service to plan members as we move ahead with this exciting initiative.”
Trained as an actuary, Zvan joined the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in 1995 as an assistant portfolio manager. In her last role with the pension fund, she was its chief risk and strategy officer, supporting the plan sponsors in design decisions and the board in determining the appropriate investment benchmarks and risk appetite. She also crafted the Ontario Teachers’ responsible investing and climate change strategy and directed its enterprise and operational risk management approach.
The UPP’s joint sponsors are the unions and faculty associations representing the members, as well as the three founding universities — Queen’s University, the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto. The board of trustees is comprised of six trustees selected by the employer sponsor, six by the employee sponsor, one by non-unionized members and a chair selected jointly by the sponsors.
It will replace five pension plans now in place at the three founding universities. Over time, the UPP will serve other Ontario universities that wish to join, with the support of their pension plan members.