Breaking News:  ORPP Leadership

ORPP Board

Breaking News:  Joe Nunes not appointed to ORPPAC BoD

Many of our readers might be disappointed but will not be surprised that Joe Nunes (actuary and ORPP critic) has not been appointed to the Board of Directors overseeing the ORPP Administration Corporation.  I am not too disappointed because I have lots of work already and I doubt I have the political skills for such a position.  And of course this leaves me open to apply for the CEO position which undoubtedly will be high on the Board’s list of priorities.

It is interesting to see who the government of Ontario did appoint to the Board of Directors:  Murray Gold, Richard Nesbitt, and Susan Wolburgh Jenah as chair.

The chosen ones

Murray Gold is well known to the pension industry and in my opinion he is an excellent choice.  I remember in the early 1990s working behind the scenes on a project involving Murray and he was a sharp guy way back then.  I can only assume that the years have only made him better and as far as I can tell he is close to singularly focused on the pension industry.

I don’t know Richard Nesbitt so the best I could do was google him.  If I have the right person, according to the Financial Post he is “a well known Bay Street veteran” and the current CEO of the Global Risk Institute.  I hope I have the right guy.  More importantly, I hope the government has the right guy.  With that said, it is hard to argue that an individual who works with risk professionals all day isn’t a good choice.  I have said over and over again this ORPP project is a risky proposition for workers and taxpayers and I am not sure that anyone is clear who is bearing the risks and if those same people are in line for the rewards.

I also don’t know Susan Wolburgh Jenah which again makes me realize just how disconnected I am with all the players in downtown Toronto.  Relying again on google, I am pretty sure that Susan is an accomplished lawyer now with Aird & Berlis and in a former life was the CEO of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).  It is hard to argue that her background and expertise won’t be valuable.  If things go according to plan then the ORPP is going to build a fund with hundreds of millions of dollars and eventually billions.  It is reassuring that there is someone at the wheel that will know what to do with our money.

Who is missing?

Where is the actuary?  Sure, legal and governance, risk management, and investment are key priorities.  But this whole thing is an intergenerational nightmare if we don’t get the pricing right.  To me, a good actuary at the top would have been a wise investment.  It doesn’t even need to be me, how about recently retired Malcolm Hamilton or Claude Lamoureux?  These guys sure know there way around multi-billion dollar pension promises.  The absence of an actuary telegraphs a sad comment about our government’s perception of the value and the role of actuaries.  The message I hear is that the board will select actuaries to implement the details but actuaries don’t need to be at the table to discuss the strategy and the compromises.  I am disappointed that we aren’t held in higher regard.

My job

Of course, the fact that our government in Ontario isn’t putting me on the payroll doesn’t mean that I don’t have a job.  I get to keep my current job watching over this politician’s fantasy, calling out issues as I see them in the hopes that Ontario’s taxpayers enjoy a fairy tale ending.

I know what you are thinking – my pay isn’t as good as the folks that have been hand selected and I don’t have nearly the influence as those with their hands on the steering wheel.  But on the bright side, these experienced professionals have all the pressure.  I have said it is going to be hard to make this thing work – they now have to prove me wrong.  Would you want your legacy at the end of a storied career to be the architect of a gas plant sized debacle?  I know I don’t.  On behalf of Ontario’s taxpayers I wish these folks the best.  Really, I don’t want them to fail; I just don’t see the road to success.





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