You asked, we answered

May 13, 2013

You sent us your questions about the 2012 results through email and asked them in person at our 2013 annual meeting. Two themes emerged from the questions posed: retirement security and our investment strategy.

Q: Why do you only publish investments of $100 million or more in the Report to Members?

A: We have roughly 4,500 holdings. The $100 million mark represents about 1% of the plan, which is a reasonable threshold.

Q: What is Teachers' rationale for investing in extractive and defence industries?

A: Responsible investing is our method of managing risks and opportunities so that we not only make well-informed buying decisions, but also remain effective stewards of our investments for as long as we own them.

Taking this approach means constantly re-evaluating investments against a broad range of financial and non-financial factors, including risks associated with environmental, social, and governance issues and how the investments will affect our reputation.

Q: Can the government change the plan from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan?

A: As the pension plan's administrator, our role is to provide information and advice to the sponsors, the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the Ontario government. We are not able to speculate or comment on political matters.

Q: How will you continue to advocate for defined benefit plans?

A: We co-produced a documentary, Pension Plan Evolution, which clearly demonstrates the merits of an evolved defined benefit plan over a defined contribution plan. We also have an advocacy program that involves speaking at public engagements and outreach to government at both provincial and federal levels.

Q: Can I make additional personal contributions to the pension plan?

A: Our mandate and certain laws limit us to managing the existing Teachers' pension fund. While we continuously evaluate opportunities to enhance our member services, there are no plans to allow members to make personal investments or additional contributions to the plan.