The past few years for the pension industry have been difficult, to put it mildly. But for the Top 100 pension plans, things are starting to look up. Pension assets have cracked the $800-billion mark for the first time ever and are closing in on $900 billion. Assets climbed nearly 10%, with a number of plans reporting double-digit increases. And there was just one plan that reported a decline in assets, compared with 26 in 2011.
Pension plans have had a trying time over the last few years. Stocks have taken investors for a ride, and a low interest rate environment is the new normal. Following is a review of the themes and issues we’ve covered since 2008 in this web-exclusive article.
Since its creation by the provincial government in 2006, the Nova Scotia Pension Agency (NSPA) (No. 21 in the 2012 Top 100 Pension Funds Report) has been guided by one key principle. “Our driving mantra has been to view our trustees as customers,” says Steven Wolff, CEO of the NSPA. “We’ve really tried to understand what their priorities and expectations are, and then to use that input to drive strategic improvements.”
At the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) Pension Plan (No. 29), those charged with overseeing the retirement savings of nearly 34,000 plan members from participating Ontario colleges aim to respond to changes before they happen. And they try to be as transparent as possible with members when changes to the plan are deemed necessary.
After the economic turmoil that defined 2008 and decimated assets in many pension plans, few expected the turnaround in markets that occurred in 2009. In last year’s Top 100 Pension Funds Report, 66 of the funds on the list posted double-digit increases in assets for 2009. Only eight ended the year with decreases. While many […]