Monday, September 28, 2009

Canadian Pension Trust Fund

The NRPC & Koskie Minsky Q & A has some information that applies to those of us with Canadian pensions who are living in the US. The following are summaries of some key excerpts from the Q&A at the August 25th webcast by the NRPC & Koskie Minsky

The most recent valuation of the trust fund was an estimate determined by Mercer and resulted in the 69% figure currently being used. In the event of a wind-up, a new complete evaluation would be carried out before any cuts would be made in pensions.

The recent upswings in the Canadian market and dollar are likely to have improved the percentage since the fund is 53% invested in stocks, though 75% of those stocks are global, not Canadian.

Nortel is still continuing to contribute to the defined pension plan. In the 2006 evaluation the pension Plan was valued at 103%. The tax law calls for penalties to companies with more that 110% funding. On wind-up of a pension plan the valuation is typically 10%-20% below the on going valuation due to the additional costs and assumptions of wind-up.

In the event of a wind-up, the Ontario Superintendent of pensions will take over responsibility for the management of the plan and appoint an administrator. It is in our best interests for the wind-up to be delayed as long as possible to allow equity markets and bond rates to improve.

Because the Nortel pension fund is so large, it may be unsuited to the normal wind-up process and may take a number of years to obtain annuities to cover everyone. It is further complicated by the inclusion of limited cost of living advances in the plan. The NRPC and Koskie Minsky have approached the Ontario Government to appoint a facilitator who may allow changes in the normal process to better suit our purposes.

On wind-up pensioners would receive payments from an annuity which will reflect the funding percentage of the trust fund. The annuities will be purchased to reflect the plan provisions. This will include survivor benefits and cost of living increases as defined in the plan unless a facilitator negotiates changes to the pension benefits.

Pensioners will not be able to take a lump sum payment for the remaining commuted value of their pension.

The actual final value of the fund will not be able to be determined until all claims have been made and processed and decisions made on creditor payouts. In the mean time an interim fund evaluation can be determined and used by the administrator to be used in pension payouts.

It was suggested that people use a figure of 30% reduction for now for planning purposes

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