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2018 Financial Outlook


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Roundtable Luncheon with Rahim Hirji, Benjamin Tal, and Barbara Zvan
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
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Toronto ON, C.D. Howe Institute, 67 Yonge Street, Suite 300
  • 2018 Financial Outlook

C.D. Howe Institute events are open to members and their guests. Members can register online by signing in here, or contacting cdhoweevents@cdhowe.org.

Despite a bull market rounding out 2017, there are concerns that 2018 might not be as fruitful, especially with Canada-US relations facing an uncertain future. Come hear from three leading authorities on macroeconomic risk for a rich discussion on what to watch for in 2018, for better or worse.



Rahim Hirji, Executive Vice President & Chief Risk Officer, Manulife Financial

Rahim Hirji is the Chief Risk Officer of Manulife Financial. In this role, he oversees Manulife’s governance and strategy for global risk management as well as the company’s relationships with key supervisory institutions.Mr. Hirji’s team provides independent oversight and guidance for managing risk, including the development and implementation of risk management measures across the company. His team promotes a strong risk culture in which all employees act on their responsibility to manage strategic, market, credit, liquidity, and operational risks.

Prior to his appointment in 2011 as Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Hirji was the Chief Financial Officer for Manulife’s Canadian Division, a position he held since 2007. Mr. Hirji also previously led Manulife’s Global Asset Liability Management Operations and has served in various financial and actuarial roles in Manulife’s Corporate, U.S. and Canadian Divisions.

Mr. Hirji holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the Society of Actuaries, and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.


Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC

Mr. Tal is responsible for analyzing economic developments and their implications for North American fixed income, equity, foreign exchange and commodities markets. He also acts in an advisory capacity to bank officers onissues related to wealth management, household/corporate credit and risk.   Well-known for his ground-breaking published research on topics such as labour market dynamics, real estate, credit markets, international trade andbusiness economic conditions, Mr. Tal not only contributes to the conversation, but frequently sets the agenda.  He has close to 20 years’ experience in the private sector advising clients, industry leaders, corporate boards, trade associations, and governments oneconomic and financial issues.   National and global media regularly seek him out for his insight and analysis on economic issues that impact financial markets, consumers, corporations and public policy. He is also a frequent lecturer in the economic programs ofvarious Canadian universities.

Mr. Tal is a member of the Economic Committee of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The Economic Development Committee of the Toronto Board of Trade. He is also a member of the board of Governors of Junior  Achievement of Central Ontario, and a board member of the TorontoFinancial Services Alliance.


Barbara Zvan, Chief Risk & Strategy Officer, OTPP

Barbara Zvan provides liability and risk expertise focused on long-term Total Fund investment strategy, risk management and the governance framework. Ms. Zvan is also charged with ensuring the Plan is sustainable, and that the funding risk is aligned to the Board’s Risk Appetite Statement.

Ms. Zvan joined Ontario Teachers' in 1995 as an assistant portfolio manager and has risen to positions of increasing authority. As Chief Risk & Strategy Officer, she leads the Strategy & Risk team in supporting the Plan Sponsors in plan design decisions and the Board in determining the appropriate benchmarks and risk appetite. Ms. Zvan and her team provide input and risk insights to the Investing teams and create an effective risk management framework to underpin it. In addition, Ms. Zvan drives the responsible investing and climate change risk management and strategy for the Fund and directs the Enterprise and Operational Risk Management approach for the organization.

Ms. Zvan is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and holds a Master of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.

Ms. Zvan serves as the Chair of the International Centre of Pension Management (ICPM). Barbara also serves on the boards of Cadillac Fairview, Global Risk Institute and the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance.

She was honoured as one of Canada's 2008 Top 40 Under 40.

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C.D. Howe Institute, Toronto, 67 Yonge Street, Suite 300
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© 2018 C.D. Howe Institute. All Rights Reserved.

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© 2018 C.D. Howe Institute. All Rights Reserved.