Gavin Benjamin is partner of retirement solutions at LifeWorks Inc.
These are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada.
With the aging of Canada’s population, the move to defined contribution pension plans in the private sector and increases in life expectancy, the issue of decumulation is growing in importance. Decumulation deals with converting retirees’ savings into periodic income that must last for the rest of their lifetime. That can be a challenge for Canadians who […]
As 2017 draws to a close, we turn our attention to the new year. As usual, there’s a lot happening in the Canadian pension environment. Below are four pension trends to watch for in 2018. 1. Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan reform The Canada Pension Plan enhancements will be phased in from Jan. 1, 2019, and the Quebec […]
Legislation requires a defined benefit pension plan to provide members leaving active service with the option of transferring out the lump-sum commuted value of their accrued account, instead of receiving a monthly lifetime pension at retirement. However, this portability option isn’t a requirement if members are eligible for retirement at the time they leave employment. […]
The interest in pension funding rules is as great as ever, with changes taking effect in Quebec in 2016 and a review of funding rules in Ontario currently underway. For plan sponsors, members and other interested parties that would like to have a better understanding of how defined benefit pension funding rules work, it’s useful […]
We may be witnessing the most significant changes to the funding rules of Canadian defined benefit pension plans in more than 25 years. First, since Quebec’s Bill 57 came into effect at the beginning of 2016, minimum funding requirements for private sector plans registered in the province are now based on an enhanced going-concern valuation. […]
Defined benefit pension risk is as much in the spotlight today as ever and remains a significant issue for plan sponsors, even when the sponsor’s DB plan has been closed to new hires for years. This is because the obligations associated with a DB plan remain for many years into the future. Changes to the […]
When it comes to reducing pension risk, there’s an interesting dynamic between desire and ability. During periods when the desire to de-risk is high, the ability to de-risk is often low because economic conditions are seen as unfavourable. However, when the ability to de-risk increases, desire often decreases because the financial strain has eased, at […]
In recent years, pension plan sponsors were optimistic about upcoming de-risking activity. In a Towers Watson (now Willis Towers Watson) survey conducted in the summer of 2014, 67% of survey respondents indicated they intended to reduce pension risk by 2017. However, many plan sponsors also said conditions needed to improve in order for them to accelerate their […]
A pension management task that doesn’t receive much attention is the need to collect and maintain detailed data relating to individual pension plan members. While the data for active members are usually up to date and relatively accurate, this is often not the case for pensioners and deferred vested members (inactive members). Because an employer no longer has regular contact with inactive members, over time personal data, such as spousal status and mailing addresses, tend to become outdated and inaccurate. However, the importance of maintaining clean membership data should not be underestimated.
Many employers that sponsor DB pension plans are considering reducing the risk in their plans. An approach to reduce risk that is gaining popularity is to purchase a group annuity in respect of all or a portion of a pension plan’s retiree (and in some cases deferred vested) obligations.