Oxford is the real estate investment arm of OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), one of Canada’s leading pension funds. OMERS and Oxford maintain the highest standard of corporate governance practices in all their operations.
The Board of Directors ("OAC Board") of OMERS Administration Corporation ("OAC") consists of 15 voting members, 14 of whom are nominated by sponsor organizations and appointed by the OMERS Sponsors Corporation. All Board members (including the Chair) are independent of management. The Chair is also independent of any sponsor interest. The Board’s key responsibility is to set the overall vision and direction of OAC. The OAC Board delegates day-to-day business activities to management, and monitors and oversees management to ensure that its activities are consistent with the organization's vision, objectives and directional framework.
The OAC Board appoints the OAC President and Chief Executive Officer, who is not a member of the Board, and reviews his performance regularly throughout the year. The Human Resources Committee of the OAC Board is also responsible for appointing, on the recommendation of the OAC President and CEO, the President and CEO of Oxford.
As part of its commitment to transparency, the OAC Board has established a Disclosure of Board Decisions Policy, which sets out guidelines for reporting on decisions that affect retirement plan members. The Board also holds meetings each year with plan members and maintains frequent contact through meetings with member groups, the annual report, the corporate website, regular newsletters, benefit statements, presentations and correspondence.
The OAC Board approves the Statement of Investment Beliefs policy which outlines the importance that environmental, social and governance factors can have on long-term investment performance. OMERS believes that companies incorporating ESG factors into their business practices are more likely to be resilient and create value over the long term.
More information on the OMERS governance model, including its Governance Manual which sets out OMERS' governance framework, is available on the OMERS website.
Oxford is led by a seven-member executive team, including the Oxford President and Global Head of Real Estate. The Executive Committee is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Company and for ensuring that investment and operational decisions are aligned with Oxford's strategic plan.
The Oxford President and Global Head of Real Estate leads the Sustainability Steering Committee, which consists of senior executives from all key business units and is supported by the Director, Sustainability. The committee charts the overall course for sustainability efforts, decides on the issues of most importance, establishes targets and determines how we manage and report on performance. The committee meets quarterly.
ESG considerations are also integrated into Oxford’s core decision-making processes as follows:
- Decisions on the acquisition of new assets are guided by our due diligence checklist which addresses a number of sustainability risk factors
- Decisions on the design and construction of new developments are guided, where applicable, by the LEED Core and Shell and BREEAM New Construction standards, and the strategic pursuit of green building technologies that drive financial returns and environmental performance
- Decisions on building management and upgrades align with leading green building standards (LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance, BOMA Best and BREEAM In-Use), Oxford’s Sustainability Policy, Sustainability Operations Standards and our Responsible Contracting Policy.
Upholding the highest standards of professional conduct is critical to OMERS, Oxford, and all of our stakeholders. New employees must review and acknowledge their compliance with our Code of Conduct, and all employees are required to certify annually on the Code. Training modules for the Code of Conduct and key policies are available to all employees and must be undertaken every two years.
In accordance with the OMERS Enterprise Risk Policy, an assessment of the risks facing the organization is performed annually by Oxford senior management. Bribery and corruption risk is assessed as a component of fraud risk within this assessment.
An ethics hotline, managed by an independent third-party organization, provides a mechanism for employees to report Code of Conduct or other policy violations on a confidential and anonymous basis.