Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan Board: Hedging Foreign Currency Exposure
The Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (OTPP) is a defined contribution plan that was created in 1917 to provide and administer a pension plan for Ontario school teachers. Sponsored by the Ontario Government and the Ontario Teacher’s Federation, the plan currently supports 343,000 teachers, former teachers and pensioners. The recent government decision to eliminate the 30% constraint on foreign investments and the increased volatility in the currency market has prompted the OTPP Investment Committee to address the following:
1. Whether to continue the International Equity Swap Program
2. Whether to administer changes to the Foreign Exchange Hedging Policy
Goals and Objectives
In order to come to a decision, it is necessary that any solution put forth must align with the goals and objectives of the fund. OTPP is a long-term fund determined to minimize risk, costs and the additional contributions required to fund the plan while maximizing its returns.
OTPP Investment Strategy
In the early 1990’s the OTPP board realized that it was essential to begin investing abroad to diversify risk and to capitalize on international opportunities to achieve greater returns, given the size of the fund. However, it was not until 1996 that the Foreign Exchange Hedge Program (FX Hedge Program) was implemented in response to a significant rise in currency exposure. As the fund faced increased foreign currency risk, risk management became essential and thus, a hedging policy of 50% of its foreign currency exposure was introduced. Due to the fact that OTPP has a continual commitment in supporting its pensioners, it must expose itself to limited risk and effectively hedge against any unexpected changes in its investments. Hence, a conservative policy of hedging 50% of foreign exchange exposure was enforced.