Barbara Zvan Named Inaugural President and CEO for The University Pension Plan Ontario (UPP)

UPP Board of Trustees Appoints Highly Regarded Industry Leader to Head New Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan

The UPP Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the selection of Barbara Zvan as the inaugural President and CEO of the UPP.

Established on January 1, 2020, the UPP is a new defined benefit jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) designed to enhance the long-term sustainability of Ontario university pension plans. The JSPP model means shared governance between the employer and employee sponsors, giving members a new level of involvement in the governance of their pension plan.

“Barbara Zvan is uniquely qualified to take on this important role. Her leadership in the JSPP field and in responsible and sustainable investment is incomparable,” said Gale Rubenstein, Chair of the UPP Board of Trustees and a Partner at Goodmans LLP. “The Board and I are delighted Barbara has agreed to help lead the UPP as we take our next major step forward to building a sustainable, defined benefit pension plan for Ontario’s university sector.”

Barb Zvan, UPP CEO
Barbara Zvan, UPP President & CEO

The immediate priority of the CEO and Board of Trustees is to prepare for July 1, 2021 when, conditional on regulatory approvals, the new plan will be fully operational and plan administration – including benefit payments to members and investment of assets – legally becomes the responsibility of the Board.

“I am thrilled to be taking on this new role with the UPP,” said Ms. Zvan, former Chief Risk and Strategy Officer (CRSO) for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP). “The successful launch and growth of this new JSPP will help ensure pension sustainability for university sector employees. I look forward to providing high quality service to plan members as we move ahead with this exciting initiative.”

Trained as an actuary, Ms. Zvan joined OTPP in 1995 as an assistant portfolio manager. As CRSO, she supported the Plan Sponsors in plan design decisions and the Board in determining the appropriate investment benchmarks and risk appetite. She crafted OTPP’s responsible investing and climate change strategy and directed the organization’s enterprise and operational risk management approach.

Ms. Zvan currently serves on the board of the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services, the Responsible Investment Association and the advisory board of the Institute of Sustainable Finance at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University. She is also a member of the Advisory Committee for the new ‘Investing to Address Climate Change’ Charter, thus far adopted by fifteen Canadian universities, as well as a member of the industry-led Task Force for a Resilient Recovery. She previously was the Chair of the International Centre of Pension Management (a partner of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s Investor Advisory Group. She was one of four appointees to the Government of Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance and played a significant role in creating the G7 Investor Leadership Network.

The UPP’s Joint Sponsors are the unions and faculty associations representing the members, and the three founding universities – Queen’s University, the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto. The Board of Trustees is comprised of six trustees selected by the Employer Sponsor, six by the Employee Sponsor, one by non-unionized members, and a Chair selected jointly by the Sponsors. The UPP’s joint sponsorship and shared governance and risk ensures a high degree of accountability and transparency, putting the interests of plan members at the centre of every decision the Board of Trustees makes.

The UPP will replace five pension plans now in place at the three founding universities. Over time the UPP will serve other Ontario universities who wish to join, with the support of their pension plan members.

Media Contact

Kelly Conlon
Managing Director, Strategic Communications and External Relations
[email protected]



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