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Will Stocks Crash After Entering the Valuation Twilight Zone?

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Larry Sarbit, a portfolio manager at Value Partners Investments in Winnipeg, wrote an article for the Financial Post on how stock markets have entered a valuation Twilight Zone — and history tells us it won't end well: Nineteenth century French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr didn’t have stock market history in mind when he said, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” but he might as well have. Sometime in the future, the markets will respond in exactly the same way as they have in the past. But you must know the market’s history if you’re to succeed on the long road ahead. Sadly, most investors have no such knowledge and without it, they are treading on thin ice. In 2017, I wrote an article about the long-term history of the stock market. I have updated the data from the end of 2016 to the present. In my opinion, we have entered the twilight zone when it comes to valuations — the parallels to the late 1990s have never been so stark. Frankly, I think

China's State Pension Fund Faces ‘Unprecedented Challenge’

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Amanda Lee of the South China Morning Post reports that China's state pension fund is under pressure from an ‘unprecedented challenge’ as the nation gets older: Zhao Baidong, a 28-year-old property agent in Beijing, would like to travel when he retires, but with China and its state pension system facing a “challenge unprecedented in human history” as its population gets older, he is concerned he might be forced down a different route for his golden years. China’s once-in-a-decade census confirmed this week that its working age population is shrinking, and Zhao’s concerns are a reflection of many that their retirement needs will not be met by the state pension system, which is projected to face a financing shortfall within the next two decades as contributions from workers are outweighed by payouts to retirees. “I have paid a lot of attention to the social security fund. I hope that the retirement age will be extended and there is a guarantee of income [when I retire],

UAPP Pulls Billions Out of AIMCo?

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Lisa Johnson of the Edmonton Journal reports that a university teachers pension plan pulled out billions in assets from AIMCo management: A pension fund for academics and professional staff at universities has dumped Alberta’s government-owned investment manager from control of $2.7 billion of its assets. The board of the Universities Academics Pension Plan (UAPP) agreed in December to move its public equities portfolio, and has since withdrawn those assets from the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) while it searches for a new manager. The move comes after AIMCo reported a $2.1-billion loss last April due to a volatile investment strategy that has since been scrapped, and as other Alberta teachers are set to see their public pensions move under AIMCo management. UAPP board chair Geoffrey Hale said Monday some of the board’s concerns with AIMCo’s management have been addressed, but the board was not entirely satisfied with responses to what they see as pr

OPTrust's Alison Loat on Their Renewed Sense of Urgency

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Today OPTrust released its 2020 Responsible Investing Report, detailing its continued long-term commitment to sustainable investing throughout the volatility of the past year: OPTrust’s responsible investing accomplishments in 2020 include updating its Statement of Responsible Investing Principles and expanding the emphasis on diversity and inclusion in its Proxy Voting Guidelines, developing a cross-portfolio approach to integrate responsible investing in all its externally managed investments, and building an investing program to allocate capital to opportunities at the intersection of sustainability and innovation. “Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues create financial and reputational risks, but we also believe that solving these challenges presents significant investment opportunities,” said Alison Loat, Managing Director of Sustainable Investing and Innovation at OPTrust. “We are committed to continually improving the integration of respons

OTPP Acquires Brazilian Electricity Firm Evoltz from TPG

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IPE reports Ontario Teachers to buy Brazilian electricity firm Evoltz from TPG: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board is buying an electricity transmission platform in Brazil from TPG. Ontario Teachers has agreed to buy Evoltz Participações from the global alternative asset manager for an undisclosed sum. Founded by TPG in 2018, Evoltz consists of seven electricity transmission lines that total more than 3,500km across 10 states in Brazil. Dale Burgess, senior managing director, infrastructure and natural resources at Ontario Teachers, said: “Evoltz is a highly attractive portfolio of power transmission concessions that provides reliable power to businesses and consumers across Brazil. “Our strategy focuses on allocating significant capital to high-quality core infrastructure assets with lower risks and stable inflation-linked cash flows. Electricity transmission businesses are particularly attractive given their importance in facilitating a transition to a low-carbon econo