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Plans renew focus on managing geopolitical risk – webinar

Author(s): Paul Litner, Andrea Boctor, Alan Kenigsberg, Jonathan Marin, Julien Ranger, Olivia Suppa, Jonathan Wypych, Omar Sunderji, Jenah Chandani

May 26, 2022

Geopolitical risk has always been on the radar of pension plans that invest globally, but attention to managing this risk has been heightened following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This focus is central to a plan’s good governance and fiduciary responsibility. Effective management of geopolitical risk was a recurring theme during Osler’s Annual Pensions and Benefits Seminar. Panel participants included Andrea Boctor, partner, chair, Pensions and Benefits; Alan Kenigsberg, partner, Tax; Jean Boivin, Managing Director and Head of the BlackRock Investment Institute; Barbara Zvan, President and CEO, University Pension Plan Ontario; and Paul Litner, partner, Pensions and Benefits, as the moderator.

When investing globally, it is more important than ever to consider factors such as the openness of the country and its prospects for the future, the regulatory environment, the strength of its capital markets, the independence of its central bank, whether the country is part of a broad market index, the political party in power, and the nature and extent of corruption. The physical effects of climate change on a country, such as warming trends, droughts and mass migrations, are a relatively new geographical risk that should also be considered.

As a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the bar for investing in China is also higher. It is anticipated that investors will be looking for a higher premium before putting their money into the world’s second largest economy.

The webinar concluded with an update on legislative and regulatory changes, particularly in relation to defined contribution plans.

Watch the Osler Annual Pensions and Benefits Seminar webinar