Behind the scenes of CPBI Regional Council of Ontario

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Behind the scenes of CPBI Regional Council of Ontario

            

An interview with our Regional Council Member Guillaume Richard

Guillaume is and Actuary and Senior Consultant – Pension & Benefits, at Eckler Ltd., and a Member of the Regional Council of CPBI Ontario since December 2019.

 

Guillaume is an actuary and senior consultant at Eckler Ltd., working with pension plan sponsors and group benefit plan sponsors. Guillaume’s areas of expertise include plan design, funding and accounting actuarial valuations, risk management, and compliance for retirement and group benefits plans. Guillaume holds a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science from Laval University and is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Guillaume joined CPBI in the pre-pandemic era and immediately got into the game: from helping out at live events to stepping up to lead one of the Council Committee, he has been a terrific addition to the Ontario Team.

He successfully leads the Programming Team and has played a key role in the delivery of some successful event in the past 2 years. Guillaume is contributing greatly to building a dynamic and resourceful environment within the CPBI Ontario Council.

InterviewerGuillaume, can you tell us about yourself and your role at Eckler?

Guillaume:  I am an actuary and senior consultant working with pension plan sponsors and group benefit plan sponsors. I manage all aspects of the working relationship and it really comes down to being a trusted advisor and problem solver for my clients. I consult to both corporations and trusteed plans, which give me great exposure to a variety of diverse stakeholders and industry issues.

Interviewer:  How and why did you get started in this industry, Guillaume?

Guillaume:  My early passion for mathematics and problem solving led me to study actuarial science. Luckily my first full-time job was in consulting, and it happened to be a great fit. The dynamic and people interaction aspects of consulting continue to fuel me and get me out of bed in the morning.


InterviewerWe would love to know how long have you been involved with CPBI and what do you enjoy most about your involvement with CPBI?

Guillaume:  I joined the CPBI Ontario Council towards the end of 2019 and what I enjoy the most about my involvement is twofold. First, the additional interactions with industry experts and other members. I have met so many new people to share ideas with and hear different perspectives from.
Second, is the can-do attitude of everyone involved. It’s nice to see everyone remove their day-to-day job hat and work together to achieve the CPBI’s objectives. This creates a great community and removes every barrier. As such, it is easy and enjoyable for the volunteers to bring the best of themselves and work together. CPBI is the perfect example of how powerful it is to bring diversity in knowledge, background, and personality together to create a great outcome.

Interviewer:  What is one of the most exciting things that you see going on in your specific area of expertise right now, Guillaume?

Guillaume:  The willingness of plan sponsors to adapt. The last decade brought so many human resource and financial challenges. Plan sponsors had to (and continue to) deal with several unknowns as it relates to their pension and benefit programs. Status quo is not necessarily the right strategy and plan sponsors understand that, which leads to significant strategic initiatives. It’s a very interesting time to be working in consulting right now.


Interviewer:  Can you tell us more of your thoughts and insight on the industry at this time, Guillaume? 

Guillaume:  Things are moving fast on all fronts! Plan sponsors want to optimize their employee value outcome while controlling the financial and risk implications of their pension and benefit programs. They also need to balance the diverging needs and expectations from their workforce which is comprised of several distinct generations (Boomers, Millennials, Gen Z) while absorbing the impacts of financial market swings, like the current high inflation environment and equity market correction.

Looking ahead, several of our clients are reviewing their guiding principles and long-term objectives as it relates to pension and benefit programs. As we go forward, a strong base of governance policies and processes as well as risk management oversight will be key when implementing changes. These can’t happen overnight and require buy-in from several stakeholders
I would be remiss not to mention that organizations have to navigate through changes while recognizing the impact on our planet and respecting the diversity of its people, otherwise there is no point in doing business.

Interviewer:  Thank you for your time, Guillaume, you provided a great insight on the industry and it was a pleasure speaking with you!

 




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