I am pleased to report on 2017 – a remarkable year for OPB.
Years of planning and strong execution culminated in the successful launch of IMCO in 2017. IMCO’s launch was a significant milestone and one we’re very proud of. We believe it positions us well to deliver on the long-term sustainability of the Plan by better positioning us to be able to take advantage of opportunities that can enhance our returns.
Our investment management function was successfully transitioned to IMCO. While IMCO is now responsible for managing our assets, OPB remains responsible for setting our investment strategies and overseeing IMCO’s implementation of them.
In his new role, CIO Ken Lusk, who has been a member of OPB’s Investments team for more than 10 years, will be responsible for managing the relationship with IMCO and overseeing the execution of OPB’s investment strategy. He will be providing regular reports to the Board on IMCO’s performance and is also working closely with IMCO to further develop and define its Responsible Investing (RI) approach. We understand that Responsible Investing is important to our members and we are committed to working with IMCO to continue enhancing our RI practices. This past year, we have advanced our Responsible Investing practices through:
- participating in the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment annual questionnaire;
- signing a global investor letter urging the G7 and G20 leaders to stand by the Paris Agreement on climate change; and
- supporting 21 shareholder proposals seeking enhanced disclosure and/or action on climate change risks and opportunities at companies in our portfolio.
In addition to delivering strong investment returns, OPB strengthened key assumptions to support the sustainability of the Plan. Our CEO, Mark Fuller, speaks to this in his letter.
As Board Chair, governance oversight is a key component of my role. Last year, we continued to focus on further strengthening our governance, risk management, compliance, business continuity and resilience, records management and privacy practices.
We took steps to help us further enhance our cybersecurity practices by implementing changes in our network security protocols, ramping up our user training awareness campaigns, selecting industry-leading cybersecurity and cyber-threat intelligence suppliers and implementing a cross-functional cyber-action team. This will position OPB to take a more proactive and continuous improvement–based approach to the evolving security threat landscape.
We regularly review how we’re doing against best practices and conduct periodic governance assessments. In 2017, we hired Hansell LLP, a highly reputable governance firm, to conduct an in-depth review of our Board and governance practices. Overall, the report found that we have sound governance practices and that the Board of Directors is functioning well and working very effectively with management. The report made some suggestions for improvement, and we are in the process of developing a governance improvement plan to help us continue to strengthen our governance practices.
We believe that having engaged, committed, high-performing employees is critical to being able to deliver world-class client service. I’m pleased that our 2017 employee engagement survey results were very positive and indicated solid engagement and a strong commitment to OPB’s mission to provide our clients with personalized advisory services.
2017 was indeed a remarkable year. It has been a privilege to work with OPB’s senior management team and the dedicated Board of Directors. I want to take the opportunity to thank Patti Croft for the leadership she provided while acting as Interim Chair. Secondly, I want to thank Sean Hanley, whose appointment ended in 2017, for his years of service and valuable contributions to the Board.
In closing, on behalf of the Board, I want to express our appreciation to the OPB team, who through their leadership, commitment and service excellence have accomplished so much in challenging times.
We are confident that the steps we took this year are helping build a stronger plan for our members.