OMERS chief 'confident' in ability to generate long-term returns

Defined benefit pension plan talks about investment income

OMERS chief 'confident' in ability to generate long-term returns

Life & Health

By Terry Gangcuangco

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) president and CEO Blake Hutcheson expressed optimism about the prospects of the defined benefit pension plan as the Canadian public pension fund unveiled a robust 2023 investment return of 4.6%.

The result translates to a substantial $5.6 billion in investment income, signalling a promising outlook for the plan’s assets.

Hutcheson highlighted confidence in the organization’s ability to generate substantial long-term returns, citing the high quality of their investment portfolio and underlying strategies.

“I am very pleased with the way we are positioned for the future,” said Hutcherson.

OMERS said it has averaged an annual investment return of 7.3%, net of expenses, over the past 10 years.

Hutcheson said in a release: “We are investors for the long term for the benefit of our members and their families. Our focus at OMERS remains on our ability to see through economic cycles. I am extremely pleased that in the past three years, coming out of the pandemic, our extraordinary global team has earned an average annual net return of 8.0%, a track record that stands up by any objective measure.

“Our 10-year result speaks to our ability to invest through turbulent times while continuing to deliver for our members. These returns enable us to keep the pension promise, paying pensions on time and as planned, as we have done consistently since our creation as a Plan in 1962.

“As we look ahead to 2024, higher interest rates are creating opportunities for us to deploy capital into fixed income to improve future returns, consistent with our new, more diversified strategic asset mix.”  

OMERS’ net assets, as of December 31, 2023, stood at $128.6 billion – a bigger sum than 2022’s $124.2 billion. Its more than 600,000 active, deferred, and retired members span union and non-union employees of municipalities, school boards, local boards, transit systems, electrical utilities, emergency services, and children’s aid societies across Ontario.

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