Alberta Analyzes Benefits Of Withdrawing From CPP

Alberta will develop a detailed plan analyzing the costs and benefits of withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and creating its own provincial pension fund. The analysis is to be completed and released next year. However, the province would only proceed with the creation of a provincial pension plan if supported by a majority of voters in a referendum. The move was proposed in a report from the province’s Fair Deal Panel, which was established last November to give the province a stronger economy and role within Canada. It found nearly three million Albertans contribute to the CPP, yet Alberta’s younger population, higher incomes, and historically higher rates of employment means Albertans contribute disproportionately to the CPP. In 2017, Alberta workers represented 16.5 per cent of the total contributions to the CPP, while its retirees consumed 10.6 per cent of CPP expenditures.

Coping Strategies Impact Mental Health

Employment status, income level, and the availability of coping strategies are having a significant impact on mental health as people in Canada continue to experience unrelenting stress and life disruption due to COVID-19, says a survey by the Conference Board of Canada and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). It shows 84 per cent of those surveyed reported that their mental health concerns had worsened since the onset of the pandemic. Among their biggest concerns were well-being and family wellness, their personal future, isolation and loneliness, and anxiousness or fear. “This type of insight is invaluable,” says Louise Bradley, MHCC president and CEO. “We cannot address the mental health impacts of COVID-19 if we don’t understand their root causes. It’s not enough to assume that mental health has declined because of the pandemic ‒ we need to pinpoint specifics so we can find tailored solutions.” The survey shows that those who engaged in at least one coping strategy (perceived as beneficial) had lower mental health concern scores. Exercise and connecting with family and friends were ranked as the top social coping strategies, while telemedicine and talking to a mental health professional were the most common strategies for people seeking help.

Emerging Markets Resilience Increases

In the emerging world, many of the trends that have been seen for a number of years have, in effect, accelerated and, in some ways, “the future has been brought forward,” says Manraj Sekhon, chief investment officer for Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity. He told its ‘CIO Insights Series: Emerging Markets: Opportunities & the Road Ahead’ that these trends are enduring and sustainable. However, they are very different from what has been seen in the developed world. There are three key effect new realities that will increase the resilience of emerging markets. One is, looking at the number of companies that have come into this crisis with strong balance sheets in countries like Brazil, India, China, and Korea, a whole, they are in a much stronger position than in previous cycles. As well, there has been a lot of the reform and fiscal spend is a key issue. “We see it in institutions and governments and it has meant that the general shape and structure of emerging markets has been very strong,” he said. And the shape of emerging market economies is changing. This has been an ongoing theme and it continues develop. Emerging market economies now feature industrial companies, materials companies, and industrial cyclicals.

Returns Can’t Be Sacrificed

ERISA plan fiduciaries cannot invest in ESG (environment, social, and environment) vehicles that sacrifice investment returns or take on additional risk, says a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor. “Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan,” says Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia. “Rather, ERISA plans should be managed with unwavering focus on a single, very important social goal: providing for the retirement security of American workers.” The proposed rule would add regulatory text that makes clear that ERISA requires plan fiduciaries to select investments “based on financial considerations relevant to the risk-adjusted economic value of a particular investment or investment course of action.” Moreover, the proposal would require fiduciaries to consider other available investments to meet their prudence and loyalty duties under ERISA and outlines the requirements for selecting investment alternatives for 401(k) plans that ostensibly pursue one or more ESG-oriented objectives in their investment mandates or that include such parameters in the fund name. The proposal “acknowledges that ESG factors can be pecuniary factors,” but only if the economic risks or opportunities associated with them are material.

UTAM Included In Roadmap

UTAM has been included in the ‘ESG Roadmap and Resources’ from the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA). The roadmap includes a compilation of best practices that limited partners can consider implementing to advance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing efforts at their organizations. It is provided to ILPA members in order to promote the global sharing of ESG-related initiatives and resources.

Ontario Teachers’ Invests In Pipeline Assets

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has entered into an agreement with some of the world’s leading infrastructure investors. A consortium of investors, including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’), will invest in select ADNOC gas pipeline assets valued at $20.7 billion. The consortium will collectively acquire a 49 per cent stake in ADNOC Gas Pipeline Assets, a newly formed subsidiary of ADNOC with lease rights to 38 pipelines covering a total of 982.3 kilometres. The transaction structure allows ADNOC to tap new pools of global institutional investment capital, whilst at the same time maintaining full operating control over the assets included as part of the investment.

TD Ameritrade Acquisition Approved

The acquisition by Charles Schwab of TD Ameritrade has received overwhelming shareholder approval from their shareholders. More than 98 per cent of shares cast were voted in favour of a proposal to issue new common stock to TD Ameritrade shareholders. The acquisition has also cleared a hurdle with the closing of an antitrust investigation.

Anderson Has New Role

Sylvia Anderson is vice-president of sales, western Canada, at HumanaCare. She joined the firm in January 2019 as regional director, western Canada, from Lifeworks where she was regional director, western Canada and United States.