Reflections on 2008 and hopes for brighter days ahead in 2009.

I’m looking at the white flakes whirling around outside the window—nicely coordinated with the papers piled on my desk—and I’m wondering how it can possibly be December already. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. For those in the pension and benefits industry, 2008 was a whirlwind, bringing change from many directions.

Top of mind for most is the lingering impact of the credit crisis. It hasn’t been an easy year for money managers, as our November Top 40 Money Managers Report found. And our 2008 Capital Accumulation Plan Report on page 27 shows that CAP providers are also feeling the pinch. Certainly, the double-digit growth we’ve seen in the past just isn’t there this time around.

However, 2008 wasn’t all bad. There has also been some progress on the pension side through the expert panels in Ontario, Alberta and B.C., and Nova Scotia. The Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions submitted its report in late November with some positive recommendations to improve pension coverage, such as introducing a flexible regulatory and legislative framework to facilitate new plan designs and policy initiatives, and creating a government Pension Champion focused on research and innovation in the pension system. These and the other panels’ recommendations could spark changes to make employer pension plans more viable and sustainable.

2008 has also brought change to Benefits Canada. I’m excited to be the new editor of Benefits Canada, working with an excellent team to bring you the latest news and industry trends. But that’s also where you come in. I encourage you to get in touch with your ideas and suggestions. Give me a call or send me an email, and let me know what’s on your mind.

Admittedly, it has been a challenging year, but perhaps 2009 will turn the tide. Markets may improve, and those who weather the current conditions will emerge stronger. And although it may be awhile before we see any concrete changes, I’m hopeful that the various pension reviews will result in more freedom for employers to help employees secure retirement income—a comfort that, especially in these troubled times, they desperately need.

Whatever 2009 may bring, you can rest assured that we’ll be there to keep you informed and, I hope, engaged.

Alyssa Hodder is the Editor of Benefits Canada.

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© Copyright 2008 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the December 2008 edition of BENEFITS CANADA magazine.

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in Benefits Canada.

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