CANADA - The C$27bn (US$9.76bn) Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) moved 20% of its fund out of equities in 2008, which, the fund claims, allowed it to limit its losses to -11.96%.
HOOPP president and chief executive John Crocker said: "2008 was a volatile year in equity markets. The move to shift 20% the fund out of public equities contributed significantly to our investment performance and preserved over C$2bn in assets.
"As a large-scale, multiple-employer plan paying out nearly C$1bn in benefits each year, HOOPP's ability to pay pensions is the primary reference point in assessing risk and return for any investment we make on behalf of our members."
In addition, in late 2007, the fund's board of trustees voted for a change in investment strategy to reduce risk by adjusting the asset mix to better match the maturing plan's pension liabilities.
HOOPS spokesperson Martin Biefer said in 2007 the fund changed its target from 60% equities and equity oriented and 40% fixed income to 46% equities and equity oriented and 54% fixed income.
He added: "This realignment reduced the target public equity holdings to 30% of the portfolio and redeployed those funds into long term debt, real return bonds and real estate.
"We feel that this shift away from public equities into less-risky investments, coupled with the fact that we strategically avoided investments in asset-backed commercial paper and SIVs, is the reason for our strong position."
The pension plan has 333 participating employers and almost 250,000 plan members and retirees.
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