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CPPIB using lessons from its past to help China with reform

Some think Canada Pension Plan Investment Board wrote the book on how to run a public pension fund. Now the Toronto-based board is using a book about its creation in 1997 to help Chinese officials begin reforming their pension system.

“Fixing the Future: How Canada's Usually Fractious Governments Worked Together to Rescue the Canada Pension Plan,” became available in China on Feb. 20. It was written in 2008 by Bruce Little, an economics reporter and columnist at the Toronto Globe and Mail.

The book focuses on the governance- and investment-based reforms of the mid-1990s negotiated by the federal government as well as the 10 Canadian provinces, said Dan Madge, CPPIB spokesman. Among the reforms — the creation of the CPP Investment Board to manage plan assets “at arm's length from governments,” Mr. Madge said.

Releasing the book in China is part of a Sept. 22 agreement between Mark Machin, the board's president and CEO, and China's National Development and Reform Commission in which CPPIB will assist Chinese policymakers in their own pension reform efforts. Mr. Madge said CPPIB sees the release as “a great first step,” and the board is in the early stages of developing a program involving joint research, training and seminars with Chinese officials.

This article originally appeared in the March 6, 2017 print issue as, "CPPIB using lessons from its past to help China with reform".