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Portfolio transition

Our transition toward a fit-for-purpose pension fund

When UPP began assuming management for the pension assets of participating organizations in July 2021, we identified opportunities within the combined portfolio to enhance long-term performance. As a result of our findings, we developed a multi-year transition plan toward one unified and cost effective portfolio tailored to UPP’s funding objectives and investment beliefs.

In line with our target asset mix, we explore new investments with a focus on enhanced cost efficiency and control, alignment with our members’ needs, and long-term value. Since starting our portfolio transition, UPP’s Investment team has made significant progress in shifting our exposure to certain asset classes, including:

  • Adding new private assets in our inflation-sensitive asset class and building and maintaining a robust liquidity position.
  • Consolidating our partnerships and mandates to better meet our long-term needs
  • Transitioning pooled funds to segregated fund vehicles, which offer greater transparency and investment control and help us better apply our ESG lens
  • Decreasing our public equity holdings and redeployed capital into lower-risk assets, including interest rate–sensitive and inflation sensitive assets, which are better aligned with our strategy and pension liability
In the short to medium term, UPP will continue to transition the portfolio with these goals in mind:

Target asset mix and multi-year transition plan

UPP’s target asset mix is specifically designed to fund our pension benefits for the long term. It will help us maintain a healthy funding and liquidity position, stay well-equipped to pay members’ pensions, and remain agile to investment opportunities as markets evolve. The pace at which UPP can shift toward our target asset mix depends on both structural and transitionary elements, including market movement, liquidity, available investment opportunities, and the duration of investment commitments within the original portfolios.

Progress on target asset mix

Inception July 1, 2021 - December 2022

UPP’s Investment team has made significant progress in shifting our exposure to certain asset classes, particularly among fixed income, public equities, and interest rate sensitive assets, as well as building and maintaining a robust liquidity position.

Return enhancing strategies generally reduce funding risk over the long term by delivering higher relative rates of return. They can, however, display higher relative volatility (a measure of market risk) in the short term.

Asset subclasses: Public equities, private equities, private debt, absolute return

Asset mix
Inception July 2021: 72%
Dec 2022: 63%
Target: 52%

Interest rate sensitive strategies generally reduce funding risk over the long term by helping offset the effects of changing interest rates to our assets and liabilities. This includes long-dated government bonds, which are a stable source of long-term returns and help align our fixed income portfolio with the interest rate sensitivity of our liabilities.

Asset subclasses: Fixed income, inflation sensitive bonds 

Asset mix
Inception July 2021: 29%
Dec 2022: 40%
Target: 40%

Inflation sensitive strategies provide stable long-term returns while helping mitigate the impact of inflation on the long-term value of the Plan liabilities, which are linked to salary levels and partially indexed to changes in inflation.

Asset subclasses: Infrastructure, real estate

Asset mix
Inception July 2021: 5%
Dec 2022: 6%
Target: 9.5%

Short-term money market & funding helps us dynamically change our exposures in a fast-moving market. Proactive liquidity planning ensures we can maintain our desired asset mix and meet our liability obligations while remaining a reliable source for markets when liquidity is scarce.

Asset mix
Inception July 2021: -6%
Dec 2022: -9%
Target: 0%

Recent investment activity


New benchmarks to help build a liability-driven portfolio

UPP operationalized investment benchmarks in 2023, which provide our Investment teams guidance on expected asset-level risk and return in line with our investment beliefs and strategy. As we work toward our target asset mix, seeking opportunities that support UPP’s long-term investment approach, these benchmarks will serve as a tool to maintain alignment and accountability to our objectives and to measure our team’s performance and resulting compensation.

Once we achieve our target asset mix, we will evaluate UPP’s benchmark performance on a multi-year time frame, as is typical, to avoid investment decisions based on short-term market fluctuations.

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Delivering a secure, stable pension income

Our investment mandate is to earn sufficient long-term returns, at an appropriate level of risk, to deliver stable pension income to our members.

Leading with sustainabilty

We take meaningful action to create sustainable value through evidence-based practices. Sustainability is a fundamental lens through which we derive and protect value for members.

Committed to transparency

Our investment of members’ pension earnings has bearing on their retirement security. We commit to being open about our investment practices and the guiding policies that inform our approach.


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