The Co-operative Superannuation Society pension plan is one of Canada’s largest defined contribution plans, growing from its Saskatchewan roots in 1939 to include some 351 employers from across the country today.

Martin McInnis, executive director of the plan, will speak about the benefits of a multi-employer defined contribution plan and whether they could be the way of the future during a session at the 2018 Benefits and Pension Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto on April 17.

Read: A look at one of Canada’s oldest DC pensions through the eyes of a 100-year-old retiree

When many employers across an industry participate in the same pension plan, members have more freedom of movement as they can simply carry their plan over when they change jobs, says McInnis.

“In our case, there’s a fair bit of movement of the employees between different co-operatives. And so if they’re all members of the same plan, there’s no impact to the employee and that’s not part of the decision process for the employee as to whether or not they need to stay, or think about what’s happening with their pension. It just continues, so they can focus on taking an employment opportunity that suits them best.”

Employers also see a significant benefit from joining forces, says McInnis. “It takes a lot of burden off of the employer if they can get into a decent plan like ours; and so rather than trying to run it themselves, they can be focused on running their business,” he says.

Defined contribution plans such as the CSS pension should focus on making investment decisions as straightforward as possible for members, says McInnis. “Keeping it simple is really important.” 

Read: Get to know Australia’s superannuation plans at the 2018 Benefits and Pension Summit

As well, helping members with a decumulation strategy is key, he says. “Whether they want to take an annuity . . . or a variable benefits product, we offer both of those. So that’s important to remember because, they’ve got a relationship that’s probably 30 or 40 years old with the plan.

“If they have to leave at retirement and foster a new relationship or begin to use retail types of products, the fee structure and the benefits are quite a bit different for them to be able to stay in plan with us.”

Also speaking during the session with McInnis is Alex Mazer, founding partner of Common Wealth.

Find out more about the Co-operative Superannuation Society Pension Plan at the 2018 Benefits and Pension Summit.

Register for the event here.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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