Mercer Global Investment Forums

VANCOUVER2 November 2017

Mercer Global Investment Forums – Vancouver, 3 November, 2017

Forum Agenda

Contains links to presentations and related publications

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1

15:30–16:00Asset Manager Session Registration

16:00–17:50Asset Manager Session

18:00–21:30Offsite Welcome Dinner

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2

08:00–09:00Breakfast

09:00–09:05Welcome and Opening

Jean-Philippe ProvostWealth Leader, Canada

09:05–09:10MC

Phil MullenRetirement, Risk and Finance Consultant

The global economy is starting to reflate, with stronger growth and higher inflation expected. We are also seeing the potential for increased volatility in financial markets, and we believe investors must seek to identify and understand some of the key drivers of change in today's world. Global fragmentation, an abundance of capital, a shift from monetary to fiscal stimulus and understanding structural changes are four factors we believe will shape and influence the investment environment for the years ahead. In this session, we explore how different types of investors can respond to these themes to seek practical investment opportunities, improve their portfolio outcomes and meet their objectives.

Deb ClarkeGlobal Head of Investment Research

Hrvoje LakotaHead Strategist, Dynamic De-Risking Solutions

Ash DohertyDC Delegated Solutions Lead for Canada

With equity markets reaching new highs and bond yields remaining low by historical standards, portfolios dominated by equities and bonds that have worked well since the global financial crisis could face material headwinds over the coming years. The current heightened level of economic and political uncertainty further highlights the need for investors need to reassess the extent to which portfolios will remain robust in a wide range of scenarios. Historically, many investors have largely relied on nominal bonds to provide some degree of protection in periods of equity market stress. But does this approach remain valid looking ahead? In this session, we explore other forms of defence in seeking to improve the robustness of investor portfolios in the years ahead.

Luis RamirezInvestment Consultant

Sofia AssafDirector of Client Consulting, Canada

10:15–10:25Mind Games – Navigating Alternate Realities 1

In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. Like Alice in Wonderland, players are transported through a "looking glass" to alternative futures. After conferring with their tablemates, each player submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The player who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Stephanie MariamoInvestment Consultant

10:25–10:55Networking and Coffee Break

Given the current level of bond yields and equity market valuations, portfolios dominated by equities and bonds offer a relatively unattractive risk/return trade-off going forward. One important way investors are looking to address this challenge is by seeking a greater contribution from alternative asset classes across both liquid (for example, hedge fund) and illiquid (for example, private market) opportunities. In this session, we cover some of the interesting opportunities available to investors and explore how investors can build exposure to these alternative asset classes.

Dave McMillanChief Investment Officer for Hedge Funds

Harry LeggatAsset Class Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

Calvin JordanSenior Investment Consultant

11:30–12:30Keynote Address: Financial Services For the Age of Machine Intelligence

Everything we know is changing - how we live, communicate, entertain and inform ourselves. This is the new reality. It's fast, disruptive and constantly shifting with the pace of technological innovation.

Every aspect of the financial services ecosystem is changing, faster than we have ever imagined. Global forces, new entrants, and emerging technologies are reshaping both the design of products, and the way advisors and institutions need to engage with their clients. In an age of AI, algorithms and automation - the real question is what will it now take for leaders to stay relevant and competitive - not just today, but in the disruptive future?

Mike WalshFounder and CEO, Tomorrow

12:30–12:50Rebalancing the Gender Bias In DC Plans

Now is an important time for diversity and inclusion in Canada. Organizations that properly consider these aspects of people management are proven to have better attraction, retention and motivation of employees and higher rates of growth. Plan sponsors are also facing choices that can lead to not only positive changes for the lives of female workers but also for the Canadian economy as a whole. This session explores the gender gap and its overall impact on financial wellness. Learn more about how to identify gaps in your organization and develop a strategy unique to each of your employees, to improve retirement savings across all employee segments.

Jillian KennedyLeader of Canadian DC and Financial Wellness

Teresa PalandraWealth Business Leader, Central Canada

12:50–13:00Mind Games – Navigating Alternate Realities 2

In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. Like Alice in Wonderland, players are transported through a "looking glass" to alternative futures. After conferring with their tablemates, each player submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The player who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Stephanie MariamoInvestment Consultant

13:00–14:15Lunch

14:25–14:30Afternoon MC

Sabrina GilaniCalgary Office Business Leader

14:30–15:20Investment Strategies for 2018 and Beyond

Many investors still require a high expected return from their fund, but are uncertain of where to turn next. In this session, Mercer experts debate the merits of three different innovative investment strategies for your consideration: Real Assets, Factor Investing and Multi-Asset Strategies. Our speakers go head-to-head to convince you to embrace their strategy over the coming years. This is an interactive audience session, so you help decide which strategy prevails.

Moderator

Yvan BretonHead of Fiduciary Management, Canada

Panelists:

The Future is Real: Why Real Assets are Integral to Investment Success

Michael McGowanAsset Class Specialist, Mercer Private Markets

Factoring for Investment Success

Samantha CleynInvestment Consultant

Multi-asset Strategies: The Balanced Fund Redux

Brian DayesSenior Investment Consultant

15:20–15:30Lightning Talk: Preparing for Extreme Events

In recent years, much has been written regarding extreme events occurring more frequently than expected, with impacts that are not initially obvious. In this Lightning Talk, we briefly consider the benefits of being prepared to respond to such events and the potential cost of reactive decision-making. The discussion takes place within the context of a DB pension plan, but the principles we explore apply to all investors.

Sonjé GentlesInvestment Consultant

Earlier in 2017, the World Economic Forum reported on an expected retirement savings gap of $400 trillion globally by 2050. Although Canada is anticipated to make up less than 5% of that, that still equates to a long-term savings gap in 2015 of $2.7 trillion or 174% of GDP. In this session, we explore how this will affect the future DC world.

  • What are the causes of this deficit?
  • How are policymakers likely to respond?
  • How will the future of work affect the environment?
  • What we can start doing today to prepare ourselves for an uncertain future?

Neil LloydUS Head of DC & Financial Wellness Research

James WellsInvestment Consultant

15:50–16:20Networking and Coffee Break

16:20–16:30Lightning Talk: Impact of Funding Rule Changes on Investment Strategy

Earlier this year, Ontario followed other jurisdictions and announced major changes to its pension funding rules. These changes — the most significant we have seen in 40 years — will reduce cash contribution volatility and could significantly alter the risk/reward trade-off for plan sponsors. With less emphasis on short-term solvency funding, plan sponsors will be able to focus more on the longer-term investment horizon. In this Lightning Talk, we identify key investment opportunities generated by these new funding rules.

Bill WatsonLeader, Defined Benefit Advisory Services

To understand the impact of long-term systemic risks like climate change on portfolio risk/return, practitioners naturally turn first to the historical record. However, doing so isn't straightforward since it is unclear to what extent markets are pricing these risks into current valuations and what potential large changes in policy, technology and the physical environment may unfold in coming years. In this session, we examine current investment risk management frameworks and how investors can broaden their perspectives to consider and address long-term systemic risks like climate change.

Grace XiangInvestment Consultant

Alex BernhardtHead of Responsible Investing

16:55–17:05Mind Games – Navigating Alternate Realities 3

In this three-part interactive game, the audience is asked to create optimal portfolios based on different scenarios. Like Alice in Wonderland, players are transported through a "looking glass" to alternative futures. After conferring with their tablemates, each player submits a portfolio individually. All submissions are tabulated on a leaderboard. The player who submits the portfolio with the highest value after three rounds is declared the winner of Wonderland. The moderator briefly discusses the winning and optimal portfolio.

Stephanie MariamoInvestment Consultant

17:05–17:30Navigating Forward in an Unpredictable World

Charting a course in today's economic environment, particularly following eight years of relatively robust returns, is challenging. In this session, we discuss the practical challenges of implementing investment solutions in this phase of the economic cycle, and discuss a framework to help investors identify and execute ideas that will help optimize their risk/reward profile on a go-forward basis. We draw together the major themes highlighted over the course of the Forum and set out actionable suggestions to help navigate forward in this unpredictable world.

Dave MakarchukCanadian Sales and Growth Leader

17:45–19:00Closing Reception

2016 Event highlights

Contact Us


For information about the event, please contact Allison Grasso:

Did you know?

Members of some professional bodies may be able to claim continuing professional development credits for attending this event

© 2018 Mercer LLC, All Rights Reserved.