On Jan. 1, 1990, the Ontario government created the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as an independent organization to administer pensions and invest plan assets in diversified holdings.
Innovation and a commitment to excellence have defined Teachers' from day one. The first board chair, former Bank of Canada Governor Gerald Bouey, hired experienced CEO Claude Lamoureux to run Teachers' like a business. Before 1990, almost all plan assets were invested in non-marketable Province of Ontario debentures.
Here are some of the milestones that transformed Teachers' from an obscure government commission to a trusted leader in the pension industry.
- Diversification into equities begins with swap derivatives, a first in Canada.
- First direct investment in private equity.
- First investment in shopping malls.
- First annual report that mirrors disclosure of public companies.
- First purchase of real return bonds.
- Partners' Agreement gives Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF) and Ontario government joint sponsorship of the pension plan, with equal responsibility for plan gains and losses.
- First Canadian public-sector pension plan to introduce incentive compensation.
- First annual meeting for stakeholders.
- First proxy voting guidelines developed.
- Equity swaps used for first time to manage foreign content.
- Modernization of pension administration systems begins.
- First pension fund to invest in a sports team (Toronto Maple Leafs). The investment grows over 18 years into a professional sports conglomerate (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment).
- First pension fund in Canada to create a long/short portfolio.
- First investment in hedge funds.
- First pension fund to introduce risk budgeting system for investments.
- First Canadian pension fund to buy a real estate company, Cadillac Fairview.
- First pension plan to post proxy votes on website in advance of annual company meetings.
- First pension plan to provide a corporate guarantee for real estate debt.
- One of first pension plans to invest in inflation-sensitive assets to provide stable returns tied to inflation.
- First direct investment in infrastructure.
- First investment in timberland.
- Founding member of Canadian Coalition for Good Governance to promote better governance practices in public companies.
- Online pension calculator empowers members to generate their own pension estimates.
- Consolidation of Canadian coal industry, with Sherritt International (Fording Canadian Coal Trust), creates the world's second-largest coal exporter.
- One of first pension plans to create interactive pension statements for members.
- Pension fund grows to $100 billion, from $19 billion in 1990.
- Personal one-stop retirement centre allows teachers to plan retirement online.
- Inaugural President and CEO Claude Lamoureux retires; Jim Leech takes reins.
- Acquisition of one-third of regulated water utilities in Chile.
- Tied for first for pension service internationally in an independent survey.
- Lead investor in the year's largest Brazilian IPO (OGX Petroleo e Gas).
- Co-hosted the first summit in Canada of global leaders in corporate governance.
- Signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.
- Sale of majority interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment earns five times investment.
- Last of original Ontario government debentures mature.
- Ron Mock becomes Teachers' third CEO, succeeding Jim Leech who retired at the end of 2013.
- President and CEO Jim Leech leads public debate on need for evolved defined benefit pension plan model; co-authors book on pension reform.
- Teachers' opens an investment office in Hong Kong.
- Teachers' establishes a Natural Resources Group.
- Teachers' jointly commissions landmark studies that show economic benefits of defined benefit pension plans.