I’m very pleased to address UTAM’s stakeholders for the first time as President and Chief Investment Officer, following the departure of my predecessor, Daren Smith, to an exciting new appointment abroad. In my progressive roles at UTAM over the past decade, I’ve helped advance our rigorous investment processes, our in-depth approach to manager selection, and the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into our overall investment strategy. It is a privilege to now lead this talented and highly experienced team in managing the assets entrusted to us by Canada’s largest university.

We’re currently at an important inflection point in UTAM’s 21-year history, as three key developments converge:

  • The post-pandemic recovery. While the public health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are still being felt around the world, most economic forecasters are confident that the worst is behind us and we can look forward to a steady, if uneven, recovery through the rest of 2021 and beyond. At UTAM, we believe our portfolios are well positioned to benefit as the global economy regains momentum.
  • The urgent need to address climate change. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy has become a strategic imperative for governments, institutions, businesses and asset owners around the world. Reinforcing this intensified focus on sustainability, institutional investors increasingly consider ESG factors in their analysis, risk management and decision-making. UTAM is a leader in this area, sharing best practices and seeking to further refine our approach to responsible investing. Applying an ESG lens to our investment choices not only helps create a more sustainable future – it enhances the portfolios that we manage on behalf of the university.
  • A shift in UTAM’s assets under management. As of July 1, 2021, the University of Toronto’s pension assets transferred to the University Pension Plan (UPP), a new entity jointly sponsored by U of T and two other Ontario universities. Although UTAM continues to manage these pension assets, we’re working with UPP to effect a smooth transition of investment management activities at the end of March 2022. From that point onward, we will maintain our focus on managing the university’s endowment and working capital funds, which totalled more than $6.5 billion as of June 30, 2021.

In this changing landscape, we remain focused on the priorities that have long defined UTAM: constantly improving our investment and risk management processes; exceeding U of T’s objectives in preserving and growing the endowment and short-term working capital assets; and reporting to our stakeholders in an open and transparent manner. We’re confident that the systematic implementation of our investment process will continue to drive strong returns.

As we pursue the opportunities ahead, I look forward to working with the University of Toronto’s executive team under President Meric Gertler; the external Investment Committee, guided by Co-Chairs David Denison and Geoff Matus; members of the university’s Business Board; and, of course, UTAM’s Board of Directors, led by Chair Richard Nunn. I also want to express my gratitude to Daren Smith for his sound stewardship of this organization, and for the wise counsel and generous support he provided to me personally over the past 10 years and through this succession period. By setting high expectations with fairness and respect, Daren established a standard of excellence that inspired everyone around him to be their best.

In taking on this new role, I know I can count on the knowledge, skills and experience of my UTAM colleagues as we explore new opportunities and navigate potential challenges together. It’s a honour to be supported by such a capable and dedicated team – and to represent an organization that is seen as a leader in university asset management.

Chuck O’Reilly, CFA CAIA
President and Chief Investment Officer
July 2021