Analysis provides an in-depth review and discussion of industry developments and emerging issues affecting pension and benefit plans and their members, sponsors and administrators.

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August 8, 2017  –  2017 Eckler CAP Legal Forum: Improving disclosure and decumulation

How can the government help modernize the Canadian capital accumulation plan (CAP) landscape? What regulatory changes are needed to help protect CAP sponsors from key risks relating to disclosure and decumulation?

Eckler’s 2017 CAP Legal Forum brought together some of Canada’s leading pension lawyers and government representatives to discuss these issues. Key areas explored in this year’s Forum include:

  • the challenges of providing pension income projections;
  • the need for better, more creative decumulation solutions; and
  • the evolving record-keeper offering.
January 10, 2017  –  Longevity risk insurance: It’s not just for big plans anymore!

In November 2016, Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited, and Canada Life announced a streamlined longevity agreement — the first of its kind in Canada. This agreement transferred $35 million of longevity risk associated with around 200 pensioners to Canada Life.

The transaction is relatively small, but it’s significant to the Canadian insurance market. Why? It’s proof that longevity protection isn’t just for mega-plans anymore: plans of all sizes can now hedge their longevity risk.

June 17, 2016  –  2016 CAP Legal Forum: Redefining the Plan Sponsor’s Role

Will the future bring more litigation to capital accumulation plans (CAPs) in Canada? Will we see a movement toward enhanced regulation? What is the CAP sponsor’s duty as a fiduciary, and where does it end?

Eckler’s 2016 CAP Legal Forum brought together some of Canada’s leading pension lawyers to discuss and debate these important issues. Key areas explored in this year’s Forum include:

  • Risks relating to fees and disclosure;
  • Plan sponsor’s fiduciary responsibility;
  • New Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (SIP&P) requirements and regulatory trends; and
  • The decumulation dilemma.
January 19, 2016  –  2015 Eckler CAP Legal Forum: Legal pitfalls of today’s CAP trends

Eckler’s 2015 CAP Legal Forum gathered some of Canada’s leading pension lawyers to identify the different risks and responsibilities involved in sponsoring a DC pension plan versus a group RRSP, and how these risks can best be managed. This Analysis presents highlights from our CAP legal discussions.

July 21, 2015  –  Passage of Bill C-377 Poses Risks for Employers and Plan Sponsors

Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations), was passed by the Senate shortly before the summer break. Public criticism of the bill has focused on the breadth of the new disclosure requirements for unions. However, employer associations and employers that negotiate with unions might also find themselves subject to these requirements — as could many others, including individuals invested in mutual funds, and members participating in vacation pay plans, legal services plans, self-insured death benefit plans, and supplemental retirement plans.

June 12, 2015  –  Navigating legal risks facing Canadian capital accumulation plan sponsors

Any Canadian capital accumulation plan (CAP) sponsor familiar with the CAP market south of the border is likely well aware of the growth in lawsuits involving U.S. plan sponsors. The Canadian CAP market — while not as advanced as the U.S. market — is maturing quickly, and the number of people who will depend solely on a CAP for their retirement income continues to grow.

March 9, 2015  –  A look at the first-ever Canadian pension longevity insurance transaction

On March 3, 2015, BCE Inc. (BCE) announced it had entered into a longevity insurance arrangement with Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Sun Life). The transaction covers $5 billion of BCE’s defined benefit (DB) pension plan liabilities, and protects the plan against the risk of higher pension costs if lifespans are longer than expected for the covered portion of liabilities.


September 3, 2014  –  How much do the new Canadian mortality tables help DB plan sponsors understand their longevity risks?

In February 2014, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) released its final report on the recently completed study of mortality experience for Canadian defined benefit (DB) registered pension plans (RPP study). The RPP study’s final report came just one week after the Society of Actuaries (SOA ) released a draft report on its study of mortality experience for US DB pension plans. Needless to say, sponsors of Canadian DB pension plans have mortality on their mind. Please see our RPP study Special Notice for an overview of the study’s findings and key implications for plan sponsors.

September 20, 2013  –  Updated Annuity Purchase Solvency and Hypothetical Wind-up Discount Rate Guidance: What Does it Mean for Plan Sponsors?

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) has updated its annuity purchase discount rate guidance for pension plan solvency and hypothetical wind-up valuations with effective dates between June 30, 2013 and December 30, 2013. The new guidance has significant cost implications for many plans that provide pension increases that are linked with inflation (“indexed plans”), and may also have moderate implications for non-indexed plans. The guidance may drive up required contributions for plans that are not exempt from solvency funding and result in annual valuation filing frequency requirements due to increased solvency liabilities.

Along with the new guidance, the CIA has also released an Educational Note on Alternative Settlement Methods for Hypothetical Wind-Up and Solvency Valuations (the ASM Note). The ASM Note recognizes the challenges the Canadian group annuity market poses for plans with large liabilities, and outlines four alternative settlement methods (ASMs) that could be used to develop different solvency and wind-up discount rates.

This Analysis summarizes the key implications of the new guidance and the reasons for the changes, as well as details regarding the new guidance and the ASM Note, and includes strategies plan sponsors can employ to mitigate the cost impact.

April 2, 2012  –  What can plan sponsors do about declining solvency in today's interest rate environment?

These are challenging times to be a pension plan sponsor. The low interest rate environment over the past decade and volatile investment markets have taken their toll on defined benefit (DB) pension plans. Canadian plans are, on average, deep underwater. In this edition of Eckler Analysis, we explore the broad range of survival strategies plan sponsors can use to regain plan buoyancy and get back above water.