As we come to the end of this eventful year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of our strides at UPP, the work ahead in 2023, and what it means for our members.
This year’s headlines have understandably left many Canadians feeling uneasy about their retirement security. The uncertainty and volatility around us have impacted us all in some way. I want to assure our members that UPP remains, as always, steadfast in our mission to deliver lifelong pension security—today and for generations to come.
The past twelve months have been filled with important and transformative milestones, further strengthening the financial foundation that UPP members can count on in their retirement.
In 2022, we welcomed new participants to the Plan, bringing our membership to four universities and 12 sector organizations. We now have member participation from a wide range of employers across the university sector including unions, faculty members, faculty association staff, and others such as academic publishers and research groups. As a sector-wide plan designed for growth, we are energized by our reception since launch and look forward to continuing conversations with groups interested in joining UPP.
One of the advantages of a pension fund is the ability to take a long view of risk and opportunity. Our experienced team of global investment experts are building a dynamic, purpose-driven investment program with pension security at the core. Our prudent approach well positions us to withstand short-term challenges while continuing to create sustainable long-term value.
This year, we combined over $11 billion in investment assets from our founding universities into one unified and cost-effective portfolio that can provide our members with the benefits of scale. At our size, we gain access to new asset classes and unique private markets opportunities with inflation-protected assets—allowing for further diversification. It also opens the opportunity to internally manage aspects of our strategy, which saves costs and enhances control.
One of our cornerstone projects is the development of a centralized pension administration system which will provide employers and members with easy, secure access to tools and information. Our goal is to deliver modern, best-in-class service excellence. To do that, we first needed to understand what excellence meant to members. The project began in late 2021 with town halls and a survey to gain insights into members’ values and priorities for their service experience. With these crucial insights in hand, we were able to move forward with selecting Vitech as partner to help us create a flexible and secure digital-first platform.
Earlier this summer, we announced our formal commitment and action plan to achieve net-zero portfolio emissions by 2040 or sooner, with an emphasis on decarbonizing the real economy. The release of the plan followed dedicated engagements centered on understanding members’ responsible investing values and priorities, where it was evident that climate action is a top financial and social imperative for the majority of our members. We look forward to implementing our Climate Transition Investment Framework in 2023, another proactive step to position the plan for sustainable long-term value. Learn more about our Climate Action Plan progress.
As we enter the new year, we will continue implementing our 2022-2025 organizational strategy, which outlines the foundations for our core build and our three strategic pillars of serving our members, investing for the future, and realizing sector growth. Underpinning each of these imperatives is the goal of bringing scaled advantages and strong value to our members.
During this time of rest and renewal, I sincerely hope you find time to relax and find joy—in whatever form that takes. On behalf of the entire UPP team, happy holidays and best wishes for a safe and healthy New Year.
When you retire with a UPP pension, it’s guaranteed income for the rest of your life. Your defined benefit pension for UPP service includes annual conditional funded indexation of up to 75% of the increase in the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI). What does that mean? Put simply, indexation is an adjustment to your pension in pay to account for the increase in the cost of living over time, based on the key economic indicator, CPI.
In 2023, UPP is providing indexation at the full 75%. This means retired members, survivors, and dependents in pay will receive an increase to the UPP portion of their pensions of 4.75% at January 1, 2023. Please note, this indexation is only to be applied to benefits accrued under UPP provisions for service on and after July 1, 2021.
UPP’s President and CEO, Barbara Zvan, was named Canada’s CEO of the Year and Corporate Citizen of the Year by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine.
The CEO of the Year award honours inspiring, resilient, transformational leadership and the Corporate Citizen of the Year is awarded to a CEO whose personal leadership exemplifies the idea that businesses can do well by doing good.
As said by the Globe and Mail, “with the pragmatism of an actuary, the acumen of a veteran exec and the passion of a woman who has not, with the march of time and pay grades, forgotten what pension work is fundamentally all about, she is forging the UPP as an agent of sustainability.”
At UPP, we’re fortunate to know firsthand the visionary and inspiring leader that Barbara is and are thrilled to see her exceptional journey recognized.
Earlier this summer, UPP released our Climate Action Plan, detailing our formal commitment and path to achieve net-zero portfolio emissions by 2040 or sooner, with an emphasis on decarbonizing the real economy. Check out the work that’s been completed since launch, and the impactful path we’re charting for 2023.
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