Canadian Investment Review Experts

Emerson Savage

Emerson Savage is an Associate Institutional Portfolio Manager at Louisbourg Investments. Emerson joined the firm in 2016 after working in corporate finance at a multinational conglomerate. In his role, Emerson helps lead institutional relationship management, guiding investment policy and asset allocation decisions for the firm’s pension, insurance, endowment, and foundation clients. Emerson also helps lead content generation and marketing efforts at the firm, having written in the past on issues such as stock buybacks and quantitative investment management. He holds accounting and finance degrees from the University of New Brunswick.

After years of relatively stable appreciation in global fixed-income and equity markets, investors were thrust into dramatic turbulence in the first quarter of 2020, as COVID-19 sent shockwaves through markets. From Feb. 20 to March 23, the S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index lost 37.20 per cent of its value in a mere 22 trading days, […]

  • December 17, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 10:04

During and after the market crash of this year’s first quarter, retail traders flocked to the various commission-free online brokerages in droves. These traders began to aggressively trade stocks. Pundits and market participants alike have claimed that these new entrants into the market have caused extreme volatility in certain stocks and some even claim that […]

  • August 31, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:40

A value approach to investing has yielded great benefits in the past. Though there are often semantics around what constitutes value investing, it can be described as buying securities that are cheap using some metric in hope of outperformance. Beyond value, investment managers may also choose to work in the small-cap space, buying companies below […]

  • May 11, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:25

As alternative asset classes continue to be a major area of interest for institutional investors, considering the benefits and drawbacks of real estate as an allocation is an important exercise. In Canada, real estate, particularly residential, in core metropolitan areas has been an area of major investor and media interest as property values have skyrocketed. […]

  • February 26, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 06:17

The WeWork saga has been ever-present in financial headlines in recent months. The brief version of the story can be summarized in a few steps: WeWork, a company involved in subleasing buildings had been raising venture money in the private markets with valuations as high as $47 billion. One of its main investors was the […]

  • December 19, 2019 December 13, 2020
  • 07:42

The rush to alternative assets among institutional investors is well-documented. Within this movement, allocations to infrastructure are becoming common. The promise is attractive: returns in excess of fixed income with lower volatility than equities and a natural inflation hedge due to the characteristics of the underlying assets. Intuitively this makes sense. Infrastructure assets are generally […]

  • October 28, 2019 January 5, 2021
  • 08:38

A key theme in Canadian institutional investing has been a prolonged period of low and declining interest rates. As many institutions maintain a substantial domestic fixed income allocation to meet objectives, total expected portfolio returns have been lower recently compared to much of history. The investment industry developed a potential remedy to this issue, one […]

  • September 3, 2019 January 6, 2021
  • 08:31

In the world of pensions, endowments and foundations, members of governing boards and investment committees are trusted with oversight of pools of capital with significant influence over people’s lives. Formal governance frameworks provide critical references for fiduciaries helping to steward capital for these organizations. The CFA Institute Research Foundation released a paper this April on […]

  • July 17, 2019 January 9, 2021
  • 09:59

Asset managers often use complex approaches when stewarding the capital of their clients. Consider a discretionary active manager seeking to gain an edge: The manager may hope to get some large overarching qualitative question correct, such as does Company X have a long-term sustainable competitive advantage that will allow it to compound capital at an […]

  • April 11, 2019 January 10, 2021
  • 08:23

One of the difficult parts of operating as an institutional investor is choosing a roster of external managers. It’s particularly hard if your institution hasn’t clearly established the purpose of using a given investment strategy in the first place. Let’s consider hedge funds. One prominent U.S. hedge fund in particular achieved net returns of 3.7 […]

  • March 15, 2019 January 12, 2021
  • 09:18

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Thomas Agnew

Constructive dismissal and the corresponding duty to mitigate damages

In a recent case, the Ontario Superior Court found an employee failed to mitigate damages when he refused a return-to-work offer from his employer, with whom he…

  • June 4, 2019 September 13, 2019
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A summary of Ontario’s changing employment and labour legislation

Many of the changes that were introduced to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act in January 2018 were short-lived, as the province’s new government elected in June…

  • February 19, 2019 September 13, 2019
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Employer obligations around medical pot, benefits plans

With the legalization of recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018, employers have been preparing to answer questions about whether their current benefits plans should provide…

  • December 4, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Court confirms employer’s right to change job conditions

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found an employer didn’t constructively dismiss a long-service employee when it provided her with 18 months…

  • May 15, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Louis Gagnon

Consider health benefits, workplace policies as legal cannabis approaches

On Oct. 17, 2018, it will be legal to purchase and consume recreational cannabis in Canada. In a recent survey of Mercer’s employer clients and Canadian employees, we found…

  • August 21, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Creating a thriving workplace with data, personalized employee benefits

Some organizations are unique. Their employees are genuinely excited to be at work and an undercurrent of energy and vitality permeates the air. They’ve transformed the…

  • May 29, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Time to get to work on measuring absenteeism due to mental health

While many Canadian organizations continue to search for solutions to rising health-care costs, most are falling short. That’s why they must investigate any opportunity to find…

  • February 6, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Four ideas to mitigate challenges of Canada’s retirement savings gap

Macroeconomic trends such as longer lives, a lack of access to pensions and retirement supports, a low-growth environment, and persistent lack of financial literacy and…

  • November 1, 2017 September 13, 2019
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Katharine Coons

Expert panel: Preparing a psychologically safe return-to-workplace plan

Any return to the workplace, whether it’s after a medical or parental leave  — or say, following a global pandemic — requires consideration and care…

  • October 12, 2021 October 7, 2021
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Sam Goodman

Sounding Board: Institutional investors making Canada’s approach to China unsustainable

With the repatriation of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor following their three-year incarceration in China, relations between Ottawa and Beijing are to be reset.…

  • October 12, 2021 October 12, 2021
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ESG investing and human rights: “Ignorance is no longer an excuse”

It’s a welcome development that so many pension fund managers are increasingly preoccupied with the ethical implications of their investments and incorporating data to ensure…

  • July 6, 2021 July 21, 2021
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Kenneth MacDonald

Expert panel: Digital health solutions take a holistic approach to patient care

Various forms of digital health care have been available in Canada for several years, but I’d argue nothing has accelerated the awareness, need and adoption…

  • October 5, 2021 October 5, 2021
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Expert panel: Supporting employees’ mental health a marathon, not a sprint

Anyone who’s ever run a marathon or completed an endurance race or trek knows the last few miles are the hardest, both physically and mentally.…

  • July 6, 2021 July 23, 2021
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Think of health-care spending accounts as the duct tape of benefits plans

Any do-it-yourself handyman’s toolbox isn’t complete without a roll a flexible multi-purpose cloth adhesive that has unlimited uses — a.k.a. duct tape. It’s been used…

  • February 16, 2021 April 23, 2021
  • 09:00

Pandemic blurring work-life lines a recipe for employee burnout

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, technology was blurring the lines between work and home life. An unhealthy attachment to our mobile phones made it easy…

  • September 15, 2020 May 31, 2021
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Benefits Canada Experts

Jaqui Parchment

Expert panel: Equal access to benefits, digital transformation among keys to return to work

COVID-19 cases are dropping and vaccine counts are rising. The economy is reopening and we can expect to be back at the office soon. But…

  • July 27, 2021 July 26, 2021
  • 09:00

How employers can rethink benefits, rewards amid the coronavirus crisis

Employee benefits and total rewards planning have always been a critical element of business planning, but never more so than during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.…

  • December 8, 2020 April 28, 2021
  • 09:00

How plan sponsors can make the new normal better than ever

Over the past few months, we’ve all had to deal with the challenges of social distancing and self-isolation. Some people have faced the extra pressure…

  • July 21, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 08:45

Supporting employees’ workplace health, financial wellness during coronavirus

It’s the only story around these days. COVID-19 — the coronavirus — has broken out all over the world, leading to strain on health-care resources,…

  • March 31, 2020 November 23, 2020
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Canadian Investment Review Experts

Robert Sharps

Expert panel: How is cryptocurrency impacting institutional investors’ portfolios?

Whether institutional investors welcome it — or even realize it — cryptocurrency is having an impact on their portfolios. The immense size of the crypto…

  • July 22, 2021 July 22, 2021
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Canadian Investment Review Experts

Sébastien Page

Expert panel: How is cryptocurrency impacting institutional investors’ portfolios?

Whether institutional investors welcome it — or even realize it — cryptocurrency is having an impact on their portfolios. The immense size of the crypto…

  • July 22, 2021 July 22, 2021
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Canadian Investment Review Experts

Catherine Ann Marshall

Expert panel: Understanding the changing legal climates for institutional investors

In case you missed it, a recent legal opinion by pension lawyer Randy Bauslaugh suggested plan sponsors might be personally liable for failing to consider…

  • July 20, 2021 July 23, 2021
  • 12:00

RESTing the case on climate change

A lawsuit settlement on the other side of the world is reverberating around the globe as it increases the environmental, social and governance standards for…

  • December 2, 2020 July 23, 2021
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The slow burn of climate change in heat of pandemic

Meeting a deadline in the midst of a pandemic seems like a good test of corporate resiliency and, according to a recent survey of Canadian…

  • June 24, 2020 July 23, 2021
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PRI reporting deadline: A race to the finish line in 2020

There is nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Asset owners and managers who are signatories of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investments…

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Benefits Canada Experts

Claude Marchessault

Expert panel: A look at retiree benefits and the current health-care system

Many employees may be dreaming of a carefree retirement following many years in the trenches — but they’ll likely have to keep dreaming if they…

  • July 20, 2021 July 21, 2021
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Is B.C.’s pension governance structure a ticking time bomb?

For years, a major public sector pension governance time bomb has been hidden in plain sight. But it may be too late to alert the bomb squad;…

  • November 10, 2020 February 5, 2021
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Reports highlight social implications of workplace pensions

A report published by the Canadian Public Pension Leadership Council in February 2019 offers compelling evidence about the broad benefits of workplace pension plans. The report,…

  • April 16, 2019 September 13, 2019
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Governance lessons from B.C.’s public sector pension plans

While retirement income security is top of mind for many Canadians, British Columbia’s public sector pension plans are noteworthy models that can be emulated by sponsors…

  • August 15, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Benefits Canada Experts

Jason Malone

Expert panel: How plan sponsors can help make retirement, pensions more equitable

Diversity, equity and inclusion is top of mind for many plan sponsors these days. And, while issues around retirement and pensions likely aren’t the key focus…

  • July 13, 2021 July 13, 2021
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Are target-benefit pension plans the answer to a secure, sustainable retirement?

More Canadian employers should consider target-benefit pension plans for their employees these days. The model is gaining steam. In mid-December, 2020, the Quebec legislator signed into…

  • March 16, 2021 April 23, 2021
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Andrew Watts

The future of investing is multi-disciplinary

The future will increasingly favour institutional investors that can break old patterns of thought. As we move forward and industries and new technologies converge at…

  • June 29, 2021 July 7, 2021
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Janet Rabovsky

Institutional investors taking closer look at Bitcoin, gold amid inflation fears

Almost 16 months since the global coronavirus pandemic was first declared, there’s now yet another thing for institutional investors to worry about — the possibility…

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Is value investing still relevant in a volatile market?

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  • October 6, 2020 December 6, 2020
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What are the implications for pension funds coming out of coronavirus crisis?

Last August, I wrote about whether central banks were creating a financial bubble with their coordinated easing programs intended to spur economic growth and/or lift inflation.…

  • May 5, 2020 November 12, 2020
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Is ‘offence the best defence’ for investors in current economic environment?

The investment industry has been talking a lot about our position in the economic cycle and our proximity to a recession. In fact, I wrote about it…

  • January 21, 2020 November 12, 2020
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Benefits Canada Experts

Tom Milne

Use words, imagery for inclusive employee communications

Words and imagery have the power to connect, evoke emotion and elicit a reaction. They also have the power to be inclusive, or exclusive, and…

  • June 22, 2021 July 7, 2021
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How to communicate the value of a benefits plan to employees

It’s often said perception is reality and that’s definitely true when it comes to benefits plans. If employees can’t easily perceive the value in their…

  • March 9, 2021 March 22, 2021
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Connect to employees through the clutter with short, digital communications

How long is your attention span? Be honest and think back to the last time you received an email about your employee benefits and didn’t…

  • September 1, 2020 November 12, 2020
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Benefits Canada Experts

Bob Carter

Investing in iCBT offerings can pay off for employers

As many employees struggle with mental-health issues during these tumultuous times, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy is one tool that may help them bounce back. Employers…

  • June 15, 2021 June 23, 2021
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Taking the long view on effectively dealing with LTD claims

On average, one in three Canadians will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before they reach age 65, according to the…

  • October 13, 2020 February 4, 2021
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The value-added proposition of group benefits MGAs and TPAs

Plan sponsors are faced with competing offers by insurance carriers, group managing general agents and third-party administrators, as each group promotes their own unique, yet…

  • February 26, 2019 September 13, 2019
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A look at the benefits of hybrid health plans

While the move to more defined contribution-style health benefits plans provides greater clarity and flexibility to plan sponsors, it would be natural to wonder whether or…

  • September 4, 2018 September 13, 2019
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Benefits Canada Experts

Gavin Benjamin

Could pandemic-related mortality rates impact DB pension plans?

Over the past several months, much attention has been paid to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on financial markets and, subsequently, defined benefit pension plans’ financial conditions…

  • June 8, 2021 June 23, 2021
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How commuted-value calculation changes will impact lump-sum DB pension payments

In January 2020, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries released final changes to the actuarial standards of practice for calculating commuted values, with the changes scheduled…

  • October 27, 2020 February 4, 2021
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Market corrections and the retirement savings withdrawal dilemma

A retiree whose retirement savings are primarily in a registered savings plan, such as a life income fund or registered retirement income fund, already faces…

  • May 19, 2020 November 30, 2020
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Decumulation options, OCIO among pension trends for 2020

The holiday season is a time to reflect on the events of 2019 and how they may affect trends in the year to come. I…

  • December 30, 2019 November 30, 2020
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Benefits Canada Experts

Kim Siddall

How employers can help staff dive back into in-person work

As Canadians watch the U.S. reopen with life returning to normal in various stages, in addition to thoughts of attending sporting events, concerts and gathering…

  • June 1, 2021 June 9, 2021
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Five lessons for employers to apply to the pandemic’s second wave

As coronavirus cases rise across the country and some return-to-work plans become return-to-home plans, many employers are wondering how to help their employees adapt once again…

  • November 3, 2020 February 5, 2021
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Five workplace changes that should stay post-coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has been disruptive for all and sadly, devastating and difficult for many. In the pandemic’s early days, we saw a great deal…

  • June 16, 2020 February 5, 2021
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Four ways to start the benefits year off on a good foot

The beginning of a new year is a great time for employers to reflect on their benefits plans and take steps to get in ahead of potential challenges.…

  • December 17, 2019 November 12, 2020
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Canadian Investment Review Experts

Sadiq Alladina

Value creation may be new cap rate compression in real estate investment

As the era of cap rate compression draws to a close, how can institutional investors maintain the outsized returns they’ve enjoyed for over a decade?…

  • May 27, 2021 June 1, 2021
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Benefits Canada Experts

Serafina Morgia

Planning for the new post-pandemic normal

For most Canadians, it’s been well over a year since most of the country went into its first lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. I…

  • May 18, 2021 June 1, 2021
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Canadian Investment Review Experts

Brent Simmons

Looking under the hood of jumbo transactions

The recent announcement that General Motors of Canada Co. purchased $1.8 billion of annuities for its salaried pension plan is creating a lot of excitement.…

  • May 11, 2021 May 12, 2021
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Expert panel: How DB plan sponsors can get back into the driver’s seat

Much has been written about how 2020 was unprecedented, challenging and exhausting — take your pick of adjectives. It was also a white-knuckle ride for…

  • March 11, 2021 April 13, 2021
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Plan hibernation: a sleeping bear can still bite

Defined benefit pension plan sponsors who are interested in better pension risk management for their retirees have two main strategies to consider: They can either…

  • November 11, 2020 February 5, 2021
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Is it time for an asset-strategy check-up?

At the time of my last column in May, many pension plan sponsors were catching their breath after watching funding levels take a roller coaster…

  • August 27, 2020 December 5, 2020
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