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 Ontario Teachers' from day one. The first board chair, former Bank of Canada Governor Gerald Bouey, hired experienced CEO Claude Lamoureux to run Ontario 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 Ontario 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 Ontario 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.
- Ontario Teachers' opens an investment office in Hong Kong.
- Ontario Teachers' establishes a Natural Resources Group.
- Ontario Teachers' jointly commissions landmark studies that show economic benefits of defined benefit pension plans.