When University Pension Plan (“UPP”) formally launched earlier this month, we stated our clear commitment to put our members’ pension security at the core of everything we do. Our goal is, and will always be, to deliver a secure, stable retirement income to our members.
Our investment strategy is a cornerstone of this goal. We know that, for many members, how we approach our investments is critical to building a plan they can be proud of and depend on. That is why today we are sharing more context and information about UPP’s first investing policies – our initial Statement of Investment Policies & Procedures (SIPP) and Responsible Investing (RI) Policy – which are now posted to myupp.ca.
We start our investment program from a solid financial position, with clear priorities for funding sustainability and asset growth. The policies we share today reflect our starting position on Day One. They will progress in the coming months and years as we continue to explore and transition our asset portfolio, evolve with the external landscape, and welcome new universities to the plan. This evolution will be driven by our steadfast commitment to the pension promise, with investing responsibly as a core tenet in our delivery of that commitment.
We value and welcome your feedback, always.
Dialogue with our members is integral to our growth and success on your behalf. We are committed to continuously improving our reporting to promote transparency and open dialogue.
Your feedback in our Spring Engagement Program helped inform the development of our initial investment policies. In fact, some of you will see your voice directly reflected within these documents. As we move forward, we welcome your ongoing feedback and encourage you to continue sharing research and other informative and educational material that you feel might be of relevance in our strategy development.
Our First Statement of Investment Policies & Procedures (SIPP)
As a regulated pension plan, our core investment policies and procedures are summarized in a public document called a Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (or ‘SIPP’). Our inaugural SIPP came into effect on July 1, 2021 and is being filed with our regulator and is available for you to review here.
As you will see, our inaugural SIPP reflects our investment and asset position at the Plan’s inception. It will change over time as our investment scope widens and capacity deepens. The SIPP is reviewed annually to continually reflect changes in our approach, evolving risks and opportunities, and, as a Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan, feedback from our members. We will also post our annual updates as they occur.
The SIPP is, by its nature, a general, high-level summary of our approach, including our approach to addressing environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors in our investments. The deeper detail and more explicit ESG commitments are found in our initial RI Policy, as detailed below.
Our Initial Responsible Investing (RI) Policy
As a pension fund, we need to take a long view of both risk and opportunity in our investment decisions. We know that environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors will continue to pose material and evolving impacts over time. These considerations are essential in managing risk, pursuing opportunity, and securing sustainable pensions for the long-term.
Our first RI policy provides a starting framework for incorporating ESG factors into our investment programs, reflecting our investment management scope at inception. The policy outlines our initial commitments and approach and signals the direction for our evolving strategy.
While UPP’s responsible investing journey may be at its very beginning, it is core to our mission and our priority, as it is to many of you. As we continue to build out our approach, we are committed to doing the hard work to ensure our goals are backed by clear plans and timelines and measurable targets. This is what our members expect of us, and it is one of the important tasks in front of us now, led by our Managing Director of Responsible Investing and sector veteran, Brian Minns. We are committed to investing in a manner that is transparent and can be assessed by you, our members.
We thank you for your support and patience as we take our first steps on this exciting new path together – one with you, our members, at the very core of all we do.
Barbara Zvan, President & CEO, UPP