2022 investment highlights
We delivered a solid investment performance and are fully funded for the tenth year in a row. Watch this video to hear our executives discuss our 2022 investment approach and performance, and delivering our strategy.
Delivering long-term growth and performance to remain fully funded
In net assets leading to our $300B target
One-year total-fund net return
10-year total-fund net return
Our Strategy Our Strategy
Growing our global presence
of private investing activity outside of North America ¹
1 Based on the number of private investment deals that have appeared at an underwriting committee during the year.
A significant strategic imperative for Ontario Teachers’ is to enhance our international capabilities, enabling us to conduct at least 50% of our investment activity outside of North America. We have established offices in select global financial centres and hired top talent in those markets to position us to secure the best possible investment opportunities in our priority markets. Below are brief updates on our activities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Opportunities across India
India is one of the world’s most dynamic economies and a country that offers a rich diversity of opportunities for a long-term investor like Ontario Teachers’. We have more than $3 billion invested in India and it’s one of the key strategic countries we are focused on as part of our strategy to reach $300 billion by 2030.
Expanding our positive impact
Playing a role in addressing some of the more pressing environmental and social challenges facing the world supports our ability to create long-term value and deliver attractive returns for our members.
How we invest
We'll be harnessing our investment capital and stewardship to deliver compelling returns while making a real-world, positive and measurable impact.
How we operate
We’re continuing to embed environmental and equity considerations across our operations. This includes a strong commitment to wellbeing and DEI, creating an environment where people can bring their authentic self to work, and growing sustainably with our soon to be new Toronto headquarters.
How we give back
We’re empowering our people to continue to contribute to causes around the world via our annual employee giving campaign. We also introduced our inaugural Make A Mark Day providing an opportunity for team members in London and Toronto to volunteer for specific areas of need.
Making a real-world climate impact
in new green assets²
since 2019 and it remained unchanged from 2021.
in High Carbon Transition assets³
2 Companies that generate clean energy, reduce demand for fossil fuels and build a sustainable economy.
3 High-emitting companies with credible decarbonization plans that we believe we can accelerate through our capital and expertise.
Our climate strategy
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Our strategy reflects our commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our portfolio and capitalize on opportunities supporting the broader transition to a net-zero future in order to make strong investment returns and pay pensions over the long term.
Voting to influence change among public companies
We take proxy voting very seriously. Our goal is to vote every share of every company we own at every meeting of that company’s shareholders.
We vote on every ballot proposal
countries, mainly in North America, Europe and Asia
Working with portfolio companies to drive board effectiveness
Close to half of the companies we engaged with on gender diversity achieved or committed to a minimum 30% representation of women on boards in 2022.
Letter from our Chair Letter from our Chair
Message from our Chair
It’s an honour to serve the working and retired teachers of Ontario. As stewards of the plan, we remain
sharply focused on ensuring that we deliver on the pension promise to our members.
Our commitment remains unwavering in this period of uncertainty and change.
While our portfolio was not immune to the headwinds, we were able to deliver a positive return.
Challenges for global investors increased dramatically in 2022. The year was punctuated by geopolitical conflicts, trade tensions, supply chain disruptions, rising inflation and energy supply issues. These major shifts significantly altered the investment landscape. While our portfolio was not immune to the headwinds, we were able to deliver a positive return.
Resilient performance in difficult times
The plan was resilient against this backdrop, delivering a solid 4.0% total-fund net return in 2022. Our active management approach and agile positioning was underscored by a growth in plan assets to $247.2 billion. We are pleased to report that the plan is fully funded for the 10th consecutive year and remains in a strong position. The pensions of Ontario’s teachers are safe and secure.
In 2022, we saw equity indices decline and interest rates rise. The world economic order is evolving, and the plan’s board members devoted considerable attention to long-term trends, and with this knowledge we navigated the risks and opportunities in this new environment. We will continue to take a long-term view and maintain focus on generating returns.
Our strategy proved successful
As rising inflation dominated the landscape in 2022, the topic became an increasingly dominant theme in our boardroom and our investment strategy. Inflation poses a real risk for the plan, impacting both our assets and liabilities. In a high inflationary environment, securing real returns becomes more difficult and our pension obligations rise. The plan’s early strategic investment decisions to reduce our exposures to fixed income assets in favour of ones that offer some inflation protection positioned us well to weather the inflation shock. Our inflation-linked assets were a key driver to our positive returns in 2022.
Diversification of our portfolio, through effective portfolio construction, is both a key part of our strategy and a critical ingredient to our success. Diversification spreads risk across asset classes, geographies and economic outcomes, and means we can perform well in a variety of investment environments. To help further diversify our portfolio, we grew our global footprint with the opening of offices in Mumbai and San Francisco, both key areas for future investment opportunities and global growth.
The importance of climate change and the impact of our investments and operations on the environment remained an area of focus on every board meeting agenda. The board’s oversight on the plan’s progress towards reaching our net-zero targets remains a critical component of our engagement with management.
Our members are increasingly using digital channels to communicate with us in order to get information and make timely, informed decisions. The plan invested in digital self-service tools to enhance member convenience. In a special board session, we had the opportunity to experience the improved user perspective first-hand and believe members will greatly benefit from advancements in this area.
Strong risk culture
As the plan grows in size and complexity, the board’s responsibility for risk culture remains a key priority. Proactive risk management underpins our investment strategies. We are continually advancing the organization’s risk culture with sophisticated tools and processes to support risk measurement and management throughout the organization. In addition to progressing our investment risk culture, we are also evolving our non-investment risk culture, bringing that same discipline to emerging risks. For 2023, the board’s Enterprise Risk Committee, which replaces and expands on the Operational Risk Committee’s mandate, takes a higher level, forward-looking and generative approach to risk. This includes remaining knowledgeable about enterprise level risks identified by or assigned to other committees at Ontario Teachers’ and maintaining an integrated approach to overseeing all enterprise level risks which recognizes and accounts for their interconnectedness.
An active, engaged board
We are guided by leading governance practices that take us beyond the four walls of the boardroom. As we entered a post-pandemic world, there was more opportunity for the board to be engaged in the plan’s growing global footprint. Outside of our boardroom, our board members again were able to meet companies and investment partners to better understand the risk and opportunities facing the plan.
A strong, independent board is the foundation of good governance. John Murray and Bill Chinery retired after serving their maximum terms as board members. I want to thank them for their hard work, wise counsel, and many contributions to our boardroom and to the plan.
We were pleased to welcome Debbie Stein and Tim Hodgson to the board. Debbie and Tim are experienced corporate directors who bring a wealth of knowledge that will serve the plan in an increasingly complex operating environment. I want to express my gratitude to my fellow board members for the hard work, insight and invaluable contributions to the success of the plan.
Jo Taylor and the entire executive team demonstrated steady commitment and agility in the face of complex changes in 2022. We are confident in the leadership team’s ability to continue executing on the plan’s bold and ambitious strategy, while adapting and learning in this environment. Furthermore, our engaged teams have been instrumental in the success of the plan. Their dedication and skill continue to serve the best interest of our members and the board is thankful for their service in a difficult operating environment.
As the stewards entrusted with working to ensure the plan’s sustainability, the board remains committed to upholding the highest standards of good governance to help protect the retirement security of the more than 336,000 working and retired teachers of Ontario.
Letter from our CEO Letter from our CEO
Message from our CEO
We were able to deliver positive results for members in 2022 despite significant macro headwinds.
These included a significant decline in both public equity and fixed income markets,
rising interest rates, the highest inflation seen in almost 40 years,
challenging geopolitics, and stalling global economic growth.
We ended 2022 fully funded for the 10th straight year – a notable achievement for a defined benefit pension plan in the face of very challenging market conditions.
In 2022, we achieved a total-fund return of 4.0% for the year net of costs. While this falls short of the annual real rate of return we target to keep the plan sustainable over the long term, it was an impressive outcome in a year when public markets were significantly down and many global investors experienced negative returns. In the year we exceeded our benchmark by 1.8%, and delivered an additional $4.4 billion of value add for members. We continue to secure consistent, stable returns over the longer term, generating annualized returns of 8.5% over 10 years and 9.5% since inception in 1990, with our investment activities adding value well above our benchmark over those periods.
We ended 2022 fully funded for the 10th straight year – a notable achievement for a defined benefit pension plan in the face of very challenging market conditions. Maintaining a fully funded status is a key measure of the plan’s long-term financial health and sustainability. Our preliminary funding surplus as at January 1, 2023 totaled $17.5 billion and our funding ratio equaled 106%.
As well as generating positive investment returns, our Member Services team delivered a high level of support for our members, with 93% of our members satisfied with the service that they received.
Executed our strategy
Our strategy is anchored across three key pillars: growth, culture and impact. We made real progress in each of these areas in 2022. The core financial goal of our plan is to reach $300 billion in net assets by 2030. We are well on our way to achieving it with $247.2 billion of net assets secured at the end of 2022, an increase of $5.6 billion from the year prior.
We have also made significant strides toward establishing and maintaining a better balance in our operations between North America, where we have traditionally been more active, and the rest of the world. Last year we opened two international offices: Mumbai, to unlock the many investment and partnership opportunities in India, and San Francisco, to be closer to the world’s preeminent hub for technology and innovation.
We were again able in 2022 to secure high-quality global assets across our investment departments in a competitive marketplace. Examples include SSEN Transmission, an electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland, Spark New Zealand’s mobile tower infrastructure assets, and GPA Global, an international manufacturer of custom-made and innovative packaging.
We also invested in our digital channels to improve our members’ experience when they communicate with us and launched a new self-service digital tool to help them get the information they need on a timely basis.
We are focusing our efforts also to build a supportive and learning culture within the plan, which we expect will allow us to deliver on our ambitious plans and to attract and retain high-quality global talent. Significant efforts went into furthering our unique employee value proposition both to reward and engage our team, and position us as an employer of choice in our key markets. These efforts included refinements to compensation and benefits, protecting our people’s wellbeing and investing in their professional development. In addition to several new senior leaders that chose to join our organization in 2022, I was pleased that we were able to promote our own talent into senior leadership roles. This included Charley Butler, who was appointed as Chief Pension Officer, and Romeo Leemrijse, who was appointed as Executive Managing Director, Equities.
Investing to make a mark
Our mission to deliver retirement security for our members necessitates thinking, investing, and acting to a long-term timeframe, as our obligations to our members extend decades into the future. We seek to invest to make a mark, driving performance with purpose across our activities. This extends to our investment and portfolio stewardship approach, and beyond.
We believe the leaders of the future will be the ones who actively advance solutions to the most pressing challenges of today and tomorrow. We believe pursuing this vision contributes to delivering the investment returns needed to keep pensions sustainable. As an active and engaged investor, we have an opportunity to play a role in addressing some of the biggest environmental and social challenges of today to deliver value over the long term. In that regard we are making significant efforts to help tackle climate change and aid the transition to a low-carbon economy. We have a multi-faceted strategy aiming to help our portfolio companies decarbonize, invest in green and transition assets, issue green bonds to support their funding and more. We continued to allocate capital into attractive green assets in 2022, including a commitment of up to US$1 billion into Corio Generation to develop up to 9GW of offshore wind worldwide. We also introduced a strategy to invest up to $5 billion in select emissions intensive assets with the specific goal of using our capital and expertise to help them decarbonize faster.
We also advanced our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion, which we see as central to unlocking the full potential of our plan and that of our investee companies. We were proud to be recognized as an EDGE Lead organization, the highest certification level offered by EDGE, the leading global assessment and business certification for gender and intersectional equity.
Beyond these important issues, we spent time this year further defining and formalizing our approach to pursuing and measuring the positive impact we can make through how we invest, how we operate, and how we give back.
As we look forward, there will be other headwinds that await us. This may make it more challenging to replicate the solid investment returns we have become accustomed to in the past decade. That said, I remain confident that we have the right strategy and talent to continue delivering on our pension promise to members, and keep the plan fully funded.
I would like to thank the entire Ontario Teachers’ team for the many accomplishments secured over the past year, and our board members for their support in those endeavours.
President and CEO
Our performance Our performance
A conversation with our CIO
Ziad Hindo breaks down our 2022 performance, commitment to climate and long-term investment strategy.
Highlights from our portfolio companies
The following case studies show a few ways we're investing to make a mark through our portfolio companies.
Expanding global real estate horizons
Our real estate subsidiary Cadillac Fairview committed approximately $4 billion of new capital across Europe over the past 18 months as part of an ambitious international expansion plan.
In 2022, our Infrastructure and Natural Resources team made its largest investment in the power grid to date investing £1.47B for a 25% stake in SSEN Transmission, Scotland-based SSE plc’s electricity transmission network business.
Expanding high quality early years education
Ontario Teachers’ first invested in Busy Bees Nurseries in 2013. Learn how the U.K.-headquartered early years education provider grew from 213 centres to 900 centres across 10 countries.
Our people and culture Our people and culture
Investing in our people
We take a “people-first” approach that encapsulates everything from culture to career development to mental health and wellbeing. This year we further enhanced and articulated the benefits of working at Ontario Teachers’ - our Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
Industry-leading enhanced health and family benefits,
including support for adoption or surrogacy and for gender affirmation procedures for employees or adult family members.
Enhanced focus on the mental health of employees and their families,
including comprehensive policies and benefits, support services and education.
Promoting balance through our Flexible Travel Program.
Employees have the opportunity to work from another region or country for up to one month per year. In 2022, nearly 100 employees worked from 40 different countries as part of this program.
Tailored focus on career development,
including best-in-class leadership programs delivered in-house. 96% of people managers completed our leadership development course this past year.
Our diversity, equity and inclusion commitment
Our longstanding focus on DEI is anchored on our belief that creating a more equitable workplace for all can also create improved performance, better businesses and a better world. In 2022, we made significant strides forward towards that ambition.