The Global Risk Institute in Financial Services (GRI) announced Oct. 4 the creation of a National Pension Hub (NPH). The objective of the NPH is to provide pension and income security research to spur the development of innovative solutions in pension design, governance and investment.

More than a dozen organizations have joined the NPH so far. This includes major pension plans, accounting firms, consultancies and public corporations, as well as a number of individuals in the pension field, says GRI, which will be administering the hub. Additional members are being recruited, including governments and companies associated with pension plans.

A wide range of interests and perspectives

"The diversity of our membership in the National Pension Hub is one of our key strengths," said Barbara Zvan, Chair of the NPH, and Chief Risk & Strategy Officer at Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. "It will help us produce innovative ideas and research that reflect a wide range of interests and perspectives."

GRI says Canada’s pension industry has been grappling with a number of challenges in recent years, including the “aging population with a longer life expectancy, finite resources to invest in, more complex regulations, greater market volatility, and the need to generate strong returns in a slower growth economy.” The NPH will provide a pipeline of objective research to help industry stakeholders address such challenges, says GRI.

Three primary objectives

In particular, it aims to address three primary objectives: to provide innovative solutions to retirement saving challenges; to create sustainable capacity for academic research and serve as an unbiased source for policy consultation.

"We plan to build a deep reservoir of pension knowledge and research that will inform pension industry stakeholders, encourage debate on pension policy, and lead to consensus on critical issues," said Richard Nesbitt, CEO of GRI. "At GRI, we've developed a proven model of how to create value from research by working with academic and industry leaders. We want to apply this model of thought leadership to the pension industry."

First meeting in early November

The NPH's first meeting will take place at the beginning of November. The GRI says that the member organizations of the NPH to date are: AIMCo, bcIMC, CDPQ, CPPIB, CN Rail, Deloitte University, IMCO, KPMG, McKinsey, Mercer, OMERS, OTPP, Public Sector Pension Investment Board, PwC and the GRI. Pension experts Hugh Mackenzie and Bob Baldwin have also joined.