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OPTions | January 2020

OPTrust President & CEO, Peter Lindley icon of conversation bubbles

OPTrust welcomes new President and CEO Peter Lindley, who was appointed to the helm in September 2019. Peter shares why pensions and retirement security matter now more than ever.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I have degrees in engineering and education. I started my career in the financial services sector in my native England before making the move to Canada in 1992. Over the last 30 plus years I’ve held increasingly senior roles with several investment banks. Before joining OPTrust, I was President and Head of Investments for State Street Global Advisors Ltd., where I was responsible for assets under management of $50 billion and their overall Canadian business strategy. I’m a strong advocate for defined benefit pensions as well as responsible investing, and diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace.

What do you hope to bring to OPTrust as its new leader?

I will bring my personal values of respect, integrity and teamwork to OPTrust.

I will also bring a balanced stable perspective on what matters most to a pension plan. OPTrust’s primary goal is to keep the Plan fully funded. This ensures our members receive the pension benefits they have earned during their careers. We have a long-term investment strategy which must include sustainable investing – for both the Plan, and the planet. Our members are our focus, and we strive to deliver a remarkable member experience.

Keeping the OPTrust team strong is also an important consideration. We will provide a respectful, inclusive work environment to help foster and support our talented team. I am excited to be part of the OPTrust team because every day I get to work with exceptional people who put members first in every decision we make.

Why are pensions and retirement security important to you?

I learned early on about the value defined benefit pensions create for members and their families. As teachers, both of my parents contributed to a pension during their working years and benefited from the security of receiving a steady income in retirement.

Defined benefit pension plans offer tremendous value as the best way to provide retirement income security. With OPTrust Select, we have an opportunity to advocate for, and provide, increased defined benefit coverage across the province.

The opportunity to lead an organization dedicated to creating retirement security for thousands of people is incredibly rewarding and a proud moment in my career.

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As an investor, we recognize that OPTrust can use its influence to effect change and create long-term value for the Plan. Partnering with like-minded organizations to engage in action on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is central to our sustainable investing approach. Our work with the Investor Leadership Network (ILN) furthered collective action on climate change and gender diversity.

  • The ILN released a new report showing how global investors can strengthen their climate change reporting. The report shares the lessons learned by ILN members to assist asset owners and fund managers in making better choices to define their climate change strategies and disclosures. The full report is available here.
  • Chief Executive Officers of the ILN ended their first meeting of the CEO Council on Diversity recently by announcing a commitment to continue to support and increase diversity at their organizations and in the broader financial industry, with an initial emphasis on advancing gender diversity. The meeting coincided with the conclusion of the G7 summit hosted in France, where gender equality was a central theme for discussions. View the news release.

 

101 McNabb Street building in Markham icon of ribbon award

An office building property owned by OPTrust has received an “Outstanding Building of the Year” award from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada (BOMA). The award is considered the most prestigious of its kind in the commercial real estate industry.

The award, in the ‘Renovated Building’ category, recognizes 101 McNabb Street in Markham. The property includes two connected buildings totaling 315,000 square feet, currently occupied by TD Bank and General Motors Canada, among others.

The property has also achieved a Certificate of Excellence and a Sustainable Buildings platinum certification from BOMA, as well as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council and Metrolinx’s Smart Commute Gold designation.

The commitment to sustainability that these awards acknowledge is an important part of OPTrust’s Member-Driven Investing strategy. A key objective is to improve pension certainty by earning enough return to keep the Plan sustainable, while maintaining stability in contribution rates and benefit levels.

 

image of hand holding card with window to scenic landscape in the background icon of hand holding leaf

A Spanish transport infrastructure manager in which OPTrust invests has received the top ranking in a global sustainability index.

Globalvia was named the leading company in two categories in the 2019 Sustainability Index of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).

Headquartered in Madrid, Globalvia is a concession management business that oversees a portfolio of highway and railway projects across Europe and the Americas. OPTrust has been an investor in Globalvia along with two other pension funds since 2012.

As a pension management organization, it is critical that OPTrust invest and manage the portfolio in alignment with members’ interests. The commitment to sustainability exhibited by Globalvia is fundamental to OPTrust’s efforts to deliver stability and security to members.

 

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A refreshed version of OPTrust’s Online Services is now available.

The new version has a modern look and feel and more robust security. It is expected that further improvements will be made going forward.

If you’re a past user of Online Services, you will need to re-register as part of the security update. If you haven’t used it before, this is a great time to give it a try. You’ll have access anytime, anywhere to your pension records and a secure area for sending and receiving messages to OPTrust.

The site features three new videos covering the topics of designating a beneficiary, buying back past service and the bridge benefit.

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OPTrust pension information sessions are a great way to learn more about your pension and its valuable features – directly from an OPTrust representative. Non-members who are eligible to join the Plan (such as fixed term, casual or contract employees) are also welcome to learn more before enrolling.

Attend an information session in your area

This can be an evening seminar, a shorter lunchtime presentation or an information kiosk in the workplace. It’s your choice! Register for an upcoming information session.

Register for a webinar

Can’t get to a presentation in your area? Sign up for a webinar and listen from the comfort of your home.

Watch a recorded webinar

Miss a presentation in your area? View a recorded webinar.

Book an individual appointment

Have specific questions? An individual appointment by phone, video conference or in person will give you a chance to get all your questions answered in detail. View the schedule and book an appointment.