Evolving Our Capabilities and Business Model

In 2017, evolving our capabilities meant further developing OMERS culture by moving Toronto employees under one roof, expanding our Asia Pacific presence through a new office in Singapore, making advances with our new pension administration system, and developing our risk management capabilities.
OMERS Offices
Our offices: Toronto, Amsterdam, Boston, Calgary, Edmonton, London, Luxembourg, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver, Washington

In 2017, OMERS consolidated several Toronto locations into a single office for over 1,400 employees at 100 Adelaide St. W. This building, in which we own a 50% interest, was developed and is managed by Oxford, our real estate company. The move will generate related savings of over $26 million over the next 15 years relative to renewing our previous office leases, and has provided for the consolidation of several duplicate functions and the streamlining of disparate systems and processes. Moreover, the move supports the continued development of one OMERS culture, which we believe is essential to our long-term success.

We remain attentive to our costs and are using our scale, technology and strong procurement practices to contain growth in expenses while responsibly investing in managing our risks and achieving our strategic objectives.

In 2017, OMERS announced the opening of a new investment office in Singapore to advance our deployment of capital into the higher-growth emerging Asian markets.

We also invested in our risk-management capabilities. We set out our desired amount of risk in pursuit of delivering secure and sustainable defined benefit pensions. As well, we worked to improve cybersecurity to protect our member, investment and real estate tenant data.

As the rate of member retirements increases, we are carefully adding resources to our Member Services team to keep up with demand while generating efficiencies in productivity through streamlined working practices.

OMERS Management Expense Ratios in 2017 and 2016 of 55 basis points and 61 basis points, respectively, include the impact of incentive compensation in recognition of the very strong investment returns in both years. Over time, we aspire to drive our Management Expense Ratio toward 50 basis points. One of the ways we are seeking to do this is through earning fee income from the management of third-party capital in the assets that we own.

In 2017, we made significant progress in the development of OMERS new pension administration system, which will provide high-quality service to members and employers in the future. System reliability and functionality are of utmost importance, and in-depth testing of the new platform will be the focus for 2018. With our attention to quality, we are spending the necessary time to ensure that we get the system development right.

As a result of our systems-renewal initiative, we expect that our Cost Per Member expense metric, which is currently below the average of our large Canadian public pension plan peers, will increase. Our Cost Per Member for 2017 was $195, above our 2020 target of $185. In 2018, we will be evaluating the costs and benefits of further systems development, which will establish new long-term Cost Per Member targets for the future.

To ensure that we have talented employees to advance OMERS into the future, we are building the capabilities of our people. We have expanded our leadership development programs globally to create new experiences that will build greater depth across the organization. We believe that being inclusive is an integral part of our talent agenda, as demonstrated by the work of OMERS Inclusion & Diversity Council and our Pride Employee Resource Group. We recognize the value of hiring, developing and advancing the best people who are committed to working together to deliver on the pension promise. Our differences generate better discussions and produce better outcomes.