How OPB managed the challenge of the pandemic
In 2020, OPB focused on meeting employee and client needs while protecting their safety. We identified four immediate priorities for our organization and then implemented a plan to achieve them.
- Protect the health, safety and well-being of our employees and clients;
- Ensure that our front-line client service continued to be delivered seamlessly and effectively;
- Continue to pay pensions on time and maintain essential business processes; and
- Communicate with employees and clients clearly and frequently.
Thanks to the commitment of our people, we met our objectives and surpassed our expectations. We were able to continue delivering excellent service to our clients remotely. We expedited some of our pension modernization plans to ensure we could support clients with the digital services and tools they needed, such as secure document upload, e-signatures, and video advisory meetings and online retirement planning webinars.
How COVID-19 affected OPB’s approach to investments in 2020
While COVID-19 had a significant impact on investment markets, a key theme for our organization and our investment performance last year was ‘resilience’. As the pandemic started, working in close collaboration with IMCO, the investment team focused on maintaining liquidity so OPB could confidently meet its near-term pension obligations.
As people and businesses adjusted to the pandemic’s impact, markets stabilized and equity markets started to rebound. IMCO was able to seek out market opportunities, and we closed the year with an investment rate of return of 7.0%, net of all expenses, and a funded status of 90%.
Some asset classes, particularly retail real estate, were significantly impacted by the pandemic; however, we were already moving to realign our exposure to real estate, and we remained committed to our long-term strategy.