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Risk Management Project Experience - Nicholas, MFRM Class of 2021

Quick Info

  • Degree - Master of Financial Risk Management
  • Graduating year - 2021
  • Previous education - Bachelor of Applied Science (Major in Mathematics and Engineering), Queen’s University 

What is your project title?

Reaching for yield or resiliency? Explaining the shift in Canadian pension plan portfolios

Who is your project sponsor (i.e, company)?

Bank of Canada

What challenge were you asked to solve by your sponsor company? 

My project entailed co-authoring a Staff Analytical Note. The Note is about analyzing the shift in Canadian private pension plans’ portfolio allocation in response to the sustained low-interest-rate environment. ‘Reaching for yield’ is the common understanding of why pension plans have shifted their portfolios to alternative assets. Through our analysis, we propose an alternative explanation for the shift, that it is a ‘reach for resiliency’ against solvency risk.

What background knowledge and technical skills were absolutely essential for you to complete this project successfully?

The ability to articulate the key findings from our analysis and impactfully convey our ideas was essential for project success.

What kind of opportunities did you have to interact with other staff members at the company during your virtual work experience?

The Bank of Canada has a mentorship program, which matches students with early career professionals at the Bank. Through the program, I was matched with Jabir Sandhu, MFRM alumnus and now Senior Economist at the Bank. I was also able to connect with many professionals across the Bank’s functional areas such as the Financial Risk Office and join daily market briefings.

Was the experience and overall project outcome expected?

My experience working with the Financial Markets and Analysis Research team at the Bank of Canada was beyond my expectations. Jean-Sebastien Fontaine and Sebastien Betermier are renowned experts, who provided me valued insight, mentorship, and encouragement throughout the project term.

What are your tips and advice to students completing the Risk Management project next year?

I would say to make the most out of every opportunity. Meet as many people as you can, participate in team discussions, share your ideas, and make an effort to learn more every day.

The Master of Financial Risk Management is a full-time program designed to prepare ambitious young professionals for careers in risk management and finance. 

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