How did it start
After graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Mathematics in 1970, Allan joined a firm of consulting actuaries in London England where he qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (UK) in 1975.
In 1975, Allan immigrated to Vancouver where he practiced as a consulting actuary until his retirement in 2007. After 4 years with Tomenson-Alexander Limited in its Vancouver office, Allan joined The Coles Group in 1979 where, in addition to establishing and building the actuarial practice, Allan was the Managing Partner from 1988 to 1999.
Following the merger of The Coles Group with Hewitt Associates in 1999 until Allan’s retirement in 2007, he relinquished his management responsibilities and focused on providing senior actuarial and consulting services to major pension clients, workers compensation boards and public sector clients.
In the late 80’s and through the 90’s Allan was actively involved in the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, serving on several committees and task forces. He was also a regular speaker at industry conferences and seminars arranged by the International Foundation, Pacific Business & Law Institute and CPBI.
Allan’s involvement in CPBI began in the 1980’s initially as a member and subsequently as the Chair of the Pacific Regional Council. During this time, Allan also served as a director of the National Board for two years.
In 1997, Allan was co-opted to be the Vice-Chair of the National Board. During his term as Vice Chair and then as Chair of the Board, Allan devoted much of his time to initiating an extensive review of the national organization’s governance structure and policies with the objective of clarifying the mandate of the national organization, creating a more cohesive relationship between the national organization and the regional councils and restructuring the National Board to improve its effectiveness.
The testament to the success of this initiative is that the governance structure and operating policies have remained largely intact to this day.
How did it start
Paul Williams began observing the Canadian pension and benefits community more than 25 years ago.
The journey began in the fall of 1989 when Williams, the thoroughly confused and newly appointed Editor of Benefits Canada, landed at the doorsteps of the Banff Springs Hotel. The occasion was the western meeting of then Canadian Pension Conference. The topics were a maze of actuarial, regulatory and legal, financial and investment mutterings. And, of course, there was the obligatory session on plan member communications, which could be summed up as, “Nobody Gives a Damn About Pensions.”
Williams survived that meeting. In fact, for six years he wrote an award-winning column for Benefits Canada. In addition to writing about pensions and benefits he frequently spoke at industry events, including those of the Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM), the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute (CPBI), the Pension Investment Association of Canada (PIAC), and LIMRA, the global insurance body. In addition he was invited to speak at a number of corporate conferences, including meetings organized by Manulife, Royal Bank, Scotia McLeod, Trimark, Sun Life and Bank of Montreal.
During a 22-year career at Rogers Publishing, Williams launched the Canadian Investment Review conferences series. Targeted to meet the information needs of senior investment officers at Canada’s large pension funds, the conferences covered topics such as global investment, risk management, corporate governance, privatization, alternative investments, and infrastructure. Also, under the Benefits Canada brand, Williams launched the Defined Contribution Summit, Canada’s largest gathering of DC plan sponsors.
In addition to the conference, William introduced annual research initiatives tracking the defined contribution pension industry, and plan member perceptions and attitudes.
Williams launched Advisor’s Edge magazine and its French-language counterpart Conseiller. These successful magazine launches were quickly followed by development of Advisor.ca, an online service for financial advisors. Today Advisor.ca is one of the most successful business websites launched in Canada.
As part of an increasing focus on online development, he took the Canadian Institutional Investment Network online.
Williams also served on the CPBI’S Ontario Regional Council where he took an active role in launching the Benefits Basic educational series .
in 2004, Paul Williams joined the CPBI Board of Director as Director at large on He is a former member of the national board of the CPBI, where he headed the governance committee. Recently he was invited to chair the 2014 CPBI FORUM in Boston.
In October, 2011, Williams founded POWCOM Consulting, an advisory firm specializing in marketing and communications to professional audiences through research, online, face-to-face and print initiatives.
And despite an annoyingly warm winter, he recently managed 27 days on skis.