December 09, 2008
Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award established through ICD's Cdn. Foundation for Governance Research
TORONTO: Donations from more than 150 friends and colleagues will establish the Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award at the soon-to-be-launched Canadian Foundation for Governance Research (CFGR). Established by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), the Foundation will match the investment income earned from the endowment on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Named for the legendary chief investment officer of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Bob Bertram, the $1.2 million endowment will support the research efforts of senior PhD candidates studying governance issues at Canadian universities.
In announcing the new research awards program, Teachers' CEO Jim Leech said "I can not think of a more appropriate retirement gift. We have taken three of Bob's passions and combined them into one gift: his leadership in promoting corporate governance principles, his passion for learning and teaching, and his love of investment success."
"Bob has been an instrumental figure in governance debate across this country, in the growth of the Institute of Corporate Directors, and in the establishment of the new Canadian Foundation for Governance Research," said Beverly Topping, President and CEO, Institute of Corporate Directors. "As the ICD develops the CFGR, it is an honour to be able to establish its first endowment in Bob's name."
"Bob's investment motivation always has been to ensure Teachers' is doing the best it possibly can on behalf of our members," said Mr. Leech. "He never lost sight of the fact that the boards of the companies in which Teachers' invests must represent shareholders' – our members' – best interests. And he has never hesitated to remind boards of that fact."
Mr. Leech noted that one of Mr. Bertram's recent priorities has been shepherding through the plan's updated corporate governance guidelines – an update that stresses that executive compensation must reflect long-term corporate performance. "In fact, Bob is sending letters this week to the boards of companies in which we invest advising them of the updates and putting them on notice that we will be watching their compensation proposals during proxy season. Never let it be said he left with a whisper."
Under Mr. Bertram's investment leadership, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan grew from $19 billion in non-marketable government bonds to a highly diversified, market-leading fund totaling more than $108 billion at last year end.
The new awards program was unveiled at a retirement celebration held in Mr. Bertram's honour last night in Toronto.
Mr. Bertram officially retires on December 31. He will be succeeded by Neil Petroff, currently Group Senior Vice-President, Investments.
The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada. An independent organization, it invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 278,000 active and retired Ontario teachers.
The Institute of Corporate Directors is a national member-based organization that represents the Director community in Canada. The ICD is developing the Canadian Foundation for Governance Research to provide the funds necessary to enable leading research on governance, to build Canada's governance research capacity, and to conduct and to ensure the broad and effective dissemination and implementation of that knowledge.
Director, Communications and Media Relations
Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan