Marking Two Years Towards Prudent Investing
November marks two years of work and substantial progress for ONE Investment towards creating a path to prudent investor for all municipalities who want to take part.
Prudent investing helps municipalities broaden their investment options, creating a more diversified portfolio that can improve returns and better manage risks.
Once prudent investing was introduced into the Municipal Act, ONE’s top priority was making sure that municipalities of all sizes could participate. That plan is coming together, as about eight municipalities are going through the Council approval process to potentially become founding municipalities of the ONE Joint Investment Board (ONE JIB).
The ONE JIB will have its first meeting in April 2020. It will oversee the investments of the founding municipalities as well as others who choose to join. It’s expected that it will begin managing investments by June 2020. These investments will each be managed according to a Council-approved Investment Policy Statement and an associated investment plan.
“In today’s fiscal environment, all municipalities can benefit from more investment options,” said Judy Dezell, AMO’s Director, Enterprise Centre, Business Partnerships & LAS. “With the ONE Joint Investment Board, the municipal sector is coming together to develop a joint solution for everyone who wants to take part.”
The City of Kenora meets the threshold to investment independently under the new PI regime. But treasurer Charlotte Edie is pursuing the ONE JIB with her Council because of the value of working with other municipalities and knowledgeable ONE staff.
“ONE caters to municipalities and they understand our world. But they also have the expertise to support us through the complexity of investing and all the regulations,” she said. “It’s also a great value because the investment fees are shared by all the municipalities.”
Meanwhile, as leader of a smaller community, Mayor Graydon Smith of Bracebridge is also supporting efforts with his Council to be a founding member of the ONE JIB.
“All municipalities deserve the opportunity to generate as much return as we can on our existing tax dollars,” Smith said. “We believe ONE is the right fit for us based on our experience with the program over the years. We believe in their strategy and leadership in the municipal community.”
Over the past two years, ONE Investment has secured an exemption from the Ontario Securities Commission so that it could expand its financial services. It has also built a team with investment and municipal expertise. The team includes Chief Investment Officer Keith Taylor and Wardah Mir, Client Service Representative, who both have financial sector experience. Colin MacDonald, Manager Investment Services brings the municipal asset management lens to the group.
The team has identified three key investment solutions to meet municipal needs and priorities: contingency, stable returns and target date project. ONE has also created extensive tools and templates to help time-strapped treasurers navigate the regulatory process.
“AMO and MFOA both pressed for prudent investing because we understood that it offered a way to generate more revenue for our communities, especially to fund asset management plans,” added Donna Herridge, Executive Director of the Municipal Finance Officers Association. “It is great to reflect on the progress we have made to date.”