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October 19, 2021

ONTARIO ELIMINATING DC RED TAPE

An Ontario government draft Pensions Benefits Act (PBA) amendment will eliminate some prescribed requirements for administrators of defined contribution pension plans in the province, says a Hicks Morley ‘FTR Now.’ Among the key proposed changes is the elimination of a requirement for administrators of member-directed DC pension plans to establish and maintain a statement of investment policies and procedures (SIPP). This change would be aligned with a similar change to federal pension legislation effective since April 1, 2015, which removed the requirement for federally regulated member-directed DC pension plans. As well, administrators of DC pension plans with assets in excess of $10 million will no longer be required to file an audited annual financial statement. In 2020, the Ontario government increased the threshold for requiring audited financial statements from $3 million to $10 million. If the requirement is eliminated altogether as proposed, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) would instead be provided the authority to require an administrator of a DC pension plan to prepare and file an audited annual financial statement if there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there is a substantial risk to the security of plan benefits or that there has been a significant change in the circumstances of the plan. The government proposal indicates that the regulatory changes are aimed at removing requirements for administrators of DC pension plans which do not appear to contribute to the regulatory oversight of such plans. These proposed amendments are part of the government’s ongoing efforts to reduce red tape. The proposal is open for comments until November 23.

October 19, 2021

SUSTAINABLE INVESTING BECOMING STANDARD

Sustainable investment is now standard globally with 84 per cent of asset owners either implementing or evaluating sustainability into their portfolios, says FTSE Russell. Its ‘Sustainable Investment: 2021’ global survey shows risk management considerations are fueling appetite for sustainable investment, with two thirds stating mitigating long-term investment risk is a key factor. Globally, climate and carbon are the leading priorities for 67 per cent of respondents, but U.S. asset owners cite social themes as top focus. David Harris, global head of sustainable finance for the London Stock Exchange Group, says, “One of the most striking findings is whilst asset owners’ views on general financial regulation are variable, 82 per cent of them support sustainable investment regulation where it is regarded as enabling consistency of reporting. A note of caution is the concern 60 per cent of asset owners have over regional inconsistencies in such regulations.”

October 19, 2021

BC SETS OUTSOURCING REQUIREMENTS

British Columbia’s ‘Outsourcing and Information Security Guidelines’ indicate pension plan administrators should perform and document a materiality assessment for outsourcing arrangements, says an Aon ‘Radar.’ The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) says the guidelines are to ensure that policies and procedures for the oversight of outsourcing arrangements are well documented. It also requires administrators to establish contracts for all material functions done by third parties, monitor performance, and review these documents in a timely manner. Among other matters, the information security guideline sets out the expectations for pension plan administrators, specifically indicating that pension plan administrators should ensure a written governance policy recognizes information security as a material risk and sets out the structures, processes, and controls for overseeing, managing, and administering information security.

October 19, 2021

MANULIFE SCORES ABOVE AVERAGE

Manulife Investment Management received above average scores for the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of its real estate and infrastructure funds and assets in the ‘2021 GRESB Assessments.’ The assessments provide a benchmark of real estate and infrastructure funds, companies, and assets, providing investors with standardized data to help evaluate complex sustainability issues. Manulife’s global real estate portfolio was also recognized as a ‘GRESB Sector Leader’ ranking first among its peer group in the ‘diversified ‒ office/industrial’ in the Americas category. In 2021, more than 2,227 real estate and infrastructure entities were covered by the assessments and are included in the ‘GRESB ESG Benchmark.’

October 19, 2021

PLACE VILLE MARIE OFFERING FLEXIBLE WORKSPACE

Starting next spring, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s Place Ville Marie (PVM), a Montreal, QC,  real estate complex, will offer a flexible workspace solution to its tenants. Located on the 29th floor of 1 PVM, the 11,000-square-foot space will provide a high-quality hospitality experience within a user-centric and connected environment designed to foster collaboration and creativity within its community. The solution will be powered by global flexible space provider, WeWork, and will leverage the company’s community and management expertise to offer tenants various amenities. The overall space will feature a variety of flexible and modular meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 50+ people. Ivanhoé Cambridge is a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.