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OMERS is changing contribution rates in 2009 to better reflect the value of pension benefits earned.

Rates for members with a normal retirement age of 65 will be slightly reduced in 2009 while most members with a normal retirement age of 60 will see an increase in their overall contributions.

“The Sponsors Corporation is committed to ensuring that contribution rates are equitable, and that they fairly represent the cost of OMERS benefits,” says OMERS Sponsors Corporation co-chair Brian O’Keefe.

OMERS says its actuaries identified that the contribution rates for normal retirement age 60 members (most police officer and firefighter members) no longer reflect the cost of their benefits, and they need to be adjusted. The adjustments ensure that the rates more fairly represent the benefits being earned.

Rates for members with a normal retirement age of 65 up to the CPP earnings limit will decline to 6.3% next year from 6.5% in 2008. Rates above the CPP earnings limit will decline to 9.5% in 2009 from 9.6% in 2008.

And rates for members with a normal retirement age of 60 up to the CPP earnings limit will decline to 7.7% next year from 7.9% in 2008 while rates above the CPP earnings limit will rise to 12.8% in 2009 from 10.7% in 2008.

The new contribution rates will apply starting with the first full pay period in 2009.

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Teachers’ Gets Top Marks

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan provides the best-in-class pension service in North America, according to a report.

The report from CEM Benchmarking ranked the Teachers’ plan first among its peers in North America, based on an evaluation of 11 service categories, ranging from the payment of pensions to contact with members.

Teachers’ also tied for first place internationally, beating out 58 other leading pension plans in Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Australia. It scored 89 out of a possible 100, compared with a median score of 74 for North American and 60 for Canadian pension plan peers.

“These results reflect our team’s ongoing commitment to provide outstanding personalized service to our members,” says Rosemarie McClean, senior vice-president, member services.

Participating plans are evaluated in such areas as telephone call wait times, availability of website tools, accuracy of member data, and quality of member pension statements. Teachers’ has placed in the top five for service levels for the past five years.

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CIBC Cuts TSX Target

CIBC World Markets has lowered its target for the S&P/TSX composite index because of an “increasingly stagflationary” environment.

In his latest research report, chief economist and chief strategist Jeff Rubin has lowered his year-end forecast for the index to 14,300 from 15,200 and also cut his 2009 target for the TSX to 15,250 from 16,200.

Rising interest rates in the United States, coupled with the soaring cost of gasoline and sliding house prices “will deal a lethal blow to the hopes for a fast bounceback in growth stateside,” he says. “The U.S. economy will continue to walk the fine line between growth and recession for a fair bit longer. That will, in turn, take a toll north of the border.”

Rubin predicts that the price of West Texas Intermediate crude per barrel will average US$150 next year and $200 in 2010.

“Prices could approach those levels sooner, if the present Gulf of Mexico hurricane season hits exposed production heavily,” he adds.

To read the report on CIBC’s website, click here.

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GMP Appoints New President

GMP Capital Trust has appointed Harris A. Fricker as the next president of GMP Securities to succeed Thomas A. Budd, who retired last month.

Fricker will also continue in his existing roles as vice-chairman and head of investment banking, GMP Securities and co-chairman of GMP Europe.

“Harris has the industry experience and an in-depth understanding of the GMP culture and we are confident he will provide the necessary leadership to GMP as we continue to execute our growth strategies,” says GMP president Kevin Sullivan.

Prior to joining GMP in 2002, Fricker held senior roles at several leading Canadian financial institutions.

GMP also announced that Dan Tsubouchi, vice-chairman, research, will assume responsibility for leadership of its Calgary office and have oversight of the operations of the Calgary office.

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UBS Appoints New Head of Canadian Business

UBS Global Asset Management has appointed Marcel Larochelle as head of its Canadian business effective July 14, 2008.

Based in Toronto, Marcel will focus on the development and expansion of UBS Global Asset Management’s institutional, wholesale and consultant relationships.

“Marcel is well recognized within Canada’s institutional investment management community and has a broad range of established relationships,” says Kai Sotorp, head of Americas, UBS Global Asset Management. “With Marcel’s leadership, I am confident we will significantly solidify and expand our Canadian business.”

Larochelle is a chartered financial analyst and has had senior roles with a number of well-established firms, including Mercer Investments, Towers Perrin and Buck Consultants, operating over the years from offices in Boston and Paris as well as Toronto and Montreal.

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Sun Life Revises Member Statements

Sun Life Financial has created a new retirement and savings plan statement developed with input from plan sponsors, plan members, and advisors.

The new statement, called my statement, features a first-page summary with information on plan balances, rates of return, and investment mix. There are also clear, informative visuals and graphics as well as easy-to-read and meaningful language and explanations.

“Plan sponsors, regardless of which provider they do business with, are saying they see room for improvement in plan member statements,” says Claude Accum, senior vice-president, group retirement services, Sun Life Financial Canada. “We believe that the more plan members know about their money and investments, the more likely they are to take an active role in their retirement planning.”

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Surrey Chooses CIBC Mellon

The City of Surrey has picked CIBC Mellon Global Securities Services to provide asset servicing and accounting support for its investment book of business.

“We chose CIBC Mellon as our asset servicing provider due to their excellent client service model,” said Vivienne Wilke, general manager, finance and technology. “Their exceptional technology, specifically Workbench, gave us the confidence to know that they could meet our evolving asset servicing and accounting needs.”

The City of Surrey is British Columbia’s second-largest city, behind Vancouver.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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