Asset Mix

Pension and Endowment

Unless we have a strong view on the relative attractiveness of one class versus another, the Pension and Endowment portfolios are typically managed to have asset class weights that are very similar to the weights of each of the Reference Portfolio asset classes. The table below shows the asset class weights for each of Pension, Endowment and the Reference Portfolio as of December 31, 2019. As the table indicates, the actual Pension and Endowment weights are very similar to the corresponding Reference Portfolio weights.

Note that we calculate the weights on an exposures basis, meaning they reflect the economic exposure of any derivative instruments that may be used to maintain an asset class exposure at the desired weight. We believe that this reporting method best represents the asset class exposures and risks of the investment portfolios.

It should also be noted that the asset class weights in the table reflect the impact of mapping investment strategies that are not in the Reference Portfolio – for instance, private equity and hedge funds – to the most appropriate asset class within the Reference Portfolio.


Pension and Endowment Asset Mix Compared to the Reference Portfolio

Reference Portfolio Asset ClassBenchmarkReference Portfolio WeightActual Pension WeightActual Endowment Weight
Equity60.0%59.4%59.5%
Canadian EquityS&P TSX Composite Total Return Index7.0%7.0%7.0%
US EquityS&P 500 Total Return Index18.0%17.9%17.9%
International Developed Markets EquityMSCI EAFE Net Total Return Index10.0%9.9%9.9%
Emerging Markets EquityMSCI Emerging Markets Net Total Return Index7.0%7.0%7.0%
Global EquityMSCI ACWI Net Total Return Index18.0%17.7%17.7%
Fixed Income40.0%40.6%40.5%
Canadian Corporate BondsFTSE Canada All Corporate Bond Total Return Index20.0%20.2%20.2%
Canadian Government BondsFTSE Canada All Government Bond Total Return Index20.0%20.4%20.3%
Total100.0%100.0%100.0%
The equity benchmarks for the US and International Developed Markets are 50% hedged to Canadian dollars, Emerging Markets is not hedged, and Global Equity is 50% hedged to Canadian dollars for the developed markets component and unhedged for the emerging markets component.

During 2019, the Investment Committee, the university administration and the Pension Committee approved a new Reference Portfolio that consolidates all of the public equity benchmarks into one global equity benchmark. The transition was in progress at year’s end and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2020.


EFIP

The objectives of the short-term working capital portfolio (EFIP), as established by the University of Toronto, are to generate a stable and consistently positive return, with minimal risk to capital. While there is no Reference Portfolio for EFIP, the university has set a target return equal to that of one-year Canadian treasury bills plus 0.5% per annum. Unlike the Pension and Endowment portfolios, EFIP does not have an active risk limit, as the portfolio’s strategy of investing in short-term deposits with Canadian financial institutions and highly rated liquid fixed income securities is the primary means of controlling risk. The table below shows EFIP’s asset mix as of December 31, 2019.


EFIP Asset Mix

Investment CategoryWeight
Dec. 31, 2019
Cash and Cash Equivalents72.1%
Short-Term Bonds27.9%
Total100.0%

Implementation Decisions and Limits

Although the Reference Portfolio includes only public market asset classes, UTAM has the flexibility to invest in other asset classes and strategies (“investment programs”). For example, we invest in hedge funds, private equity and private real estate, which are not in the Reference Portfolio. However, before we pursue any investment program that is not in the Reference Portfolio, we have extensive discussions with the university’s Investment Committee. As part of these discussions, we prepare a detailed investment memo describing our intended approach to the relevant investment program and why we believe it would be beneficial to add it to the portfolio. If the Investment Committee approves the program, then all implementation decisions, including manager hiring and firing, are delegated to UTAM. All investments must also be permitted by the relevant plan documents (i.e., the University Funds Investment Policy for Endowment and EFIP, and the Pension Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures for Pension).

As noted above in the Asset Mix section, we are permitted to overweight and underweight asset classes relative to their weights in the Reference Portfolio. The table below outlines the range of permitted weights by asset class. For example, the actual weight of Canadian equity exposure can range from 5% up to 15%, which is within 5% of the Reference Portfolio target weight for Canadian equity.

Despite the flexibility that we have been granted, we tend not to take significant asset class mismatches versus the Reference Portfolio. We regularly report differences between actual and Reference Portfolio weights to the Investment Committee, the Pension Committee and the university’s Business Board.

In addition to the limits noted above, we also adhere to a limit on the amount of active risk that we can take in the Pension and Endowment portfolios and must satisfy various constraints on liquidity, concentration and rebalancing (see the Managing Investment Risk section for more information). The limits and constraints set by the university and other stakeholders are considered large enough to give UTAM the flexibility to achieve its value-added objective without putting the Pension and Endowment portfolios at undue risk of loss relative to the performance of the Reference Portfolio.

Asset ClassReference Portfolio WeightActual Minimum WeightActual Maximum Weight
Equity
Canadian7%2%12%
US18%13%23%
International Developed Markets10%5%15%
Emerging Markets7%2%12%
Global18%13%23%
Total Equity60%50%70%
Fixed Income
Canadian Corporate Bonds20%10%30%
Canadian Government Bonds20%10%30%
Total Fixed Income40%25%50%