Pension Life - Winter 2021
Geraldine Hutchings trusts in the plan’s governance
Geraldine Hutchings is an expert in trustee responsibilities and fiduciary duties. That expertise comes from more than 30 years practising law in both government and private practice. Geraldine also uses that knowledge to foster good governance as a trustee on the College Pension Board of Trustees, a position she’s held since 2012.
As a trustee, Geraldine must prudently oversee the allocation of plan investments, which range from real estate to bonds to infrastructure. “Different types of investments involve differing risks,” explains Geraldine. “The performance of those investments varies, depending on economic developments. One of the most interesting and rewarding parts of being a trustee is overseeing this.”
Geraldine credits the plan’s governance structure with keeping the plan sustainable. Under the Joint Trust Agreement, governance is shared by members and employers as represented by the four plan partners: the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union, the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC, the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association and the provincial government. One of the responsibilities shared by the plan partners is appointing trustees to the board.
Having a board made up of trustees with varied backgrounds is part of what makes the plan so successful. “Our decision-making processes benefit from this diversity of perspective,” explains Geraldine.
Strong governance means plan members at all stages of their career can count on their pension in retirement. “The College Pension Plan is well funded and efficiently administered,” says Geraldine. “Members of the plan can have peace of mind.”
In her day job, Geraldine serves as legal counsel for the Aboriginal Law and Litigation Group within the Ministry of the Attorney General. “This role provides the opportunity to learn about the Indigenous communities in BC and help shape the relationship between those communities and the Crown,” says Geraldine. Recently, her work has focused on applying the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Born in Prince Rupert, Geraldine now lives in Victoria with her partner and three children. Outside of work and trusteeship, she enjoys running, cycling and cooking with her family.