Saving For Retirement Worries Canadians

More Canadians are worried about saving enough for retirement (75 per cent) than are worried about current personal debt (55 per cent) or government debt (64 per cent), says research by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). Other findings show eight out of 10 would rather have a better pension (or any pension) than a higher salary and 81 per cent believe the shrinking of workplace pension coverage will reduce the quality of life of Canadians. “It is clear that Canadians have a high level of anxiety around retirement security and that we, as a country, need to talk about how to address this growing concern,” says Jim Keohane, president and CEO of HOOPP. It also found 78 per cent believe there is a moral obligation to ensure children today have pensions of the same coverage and quality as their parents and grandparents had and 83 per cent believe government should modernize regulations to allow for more innovative pension plans and savings arrangements. Keohane says funding retirement will likely be a policy discussion for the next decade as retirement is one of life’s biggest expenses, “right up there with buying a house.” Unfortunately, the way people are saving is moving from a collective model such as employer pension plans to individual savings which don’t grow the way most hope because they don’t have access to the same expertise and efficiencies as the collective approach. For example, an individual needs to save $1.2 million to meet the 70 per cent target income replacement rate. In a collective plan, they get the same result for only $310,000, in other words, it is four times less expensive. There are things that can be done, he said. This includes discouraging leakage, enhancing scale and portability, encouraging fiduciary governance, streamlining choice, making savings easier and automatic, and promoting fee and cost transparency, all of which can be achieved through an employer pension plan.

Stigma Still Prevents Seeking Help

Mental health stigma is preventing employees from seeking support at work, says an international study into workplace mental health. Conducted by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by Teladoc Health, the study of employees across four major international markets including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK reveals the extent to which workplace stigma is impacting both medical outcomes and employers’ bottom lines. It shows that 82 per cent of employees who have had a mental health diagnosis have kept their difficulties hidden from workplace management, mainly because they feared a negative impact on their career (38 per cent). When offered a range of reasons for not telling their employers, 22 per cent worried that others’ professional opinion of them would be tarnished, with 21 per cent saying they felt embarrassed and 17 per cent believing their capability at work would be questioned. Most concerningly, one in 10 believed that confiding in someone at work about their poor mental health could lead to them losing their job. Employees say that greater education in the workplace about mental health is needed, along with greater access to the right support. More than four in 10 (43 per cent) agree not enough is being done to raise awareness about mental health in their workplace. Over half (55 per cent) agree more should be done in their workplace to improve mental health, with more than a third (38 per cent) saying they would be more productive at work if there was better mental health support. Crucially, employees want a more frank and transparent approach in their workplace, with 50 per cent agreeing that when executives and leaders talk openly about their mental health at work, it encourages them to feel more comfortable about their own mental health. Jason Gorevic, CEO of Teladoc Health, says, “For employers and employees alike, there is substantial health and economic value in getting individuals the right diagnosis, action plan and support needed to be well and productive in life and at work.”

Civic Plan Consolidated

OMERS has consolidated the Toronto Civic Employees’ Pension Plan (Civic Plan). With regulatory changes made in 2015, it became possible for OMERS to extend efficient and effective pension administration to pre-OMERS pension plans such as the Civic Plan. This is the second plan managed by the city of Toronto to do so. Last January, the City of York Employee Pension Plan (York Plan) was successfully consolidated into OMERS. Consolidation will not impact existing OMERS members’ benefits or contribution rates.

More SRI-based ETFs Wanted

The ‘12th EDHEC European ETF, Smart Beta and Factor Investing Survey’ has found 31 per cent of respondents want to see more SRI-based ETFs, while similar proportions are interested in ETFs related to multi-factor and smart beta indices (30 per cent and 28 per cent respectively).’ Conducted as part of the EDHEC-Risk Institute’s Amundi research chair on ‘ETF, Indexing and Smart Beta Investment Strategies.’ It says ETF usage is becoming increasingly mainstream. In 2006, 45 per cent of respondents used ETFs to invest in equities, compared with 91 per cent in 2019. It is also becoming more tactical. For the first time, the use of ETFs for tactical allocation was higher (53 per cent) than for long-term buy and hold (51 per cent). This more balanced usage suggests that the ETF market is maturing and users are becoming more proactive. The key objective are improving performance and managing risk is also considered an important criterion. Respondents feel that smart beta and factor investing bond solutions are especially useful in performance-seeking portfolios, primarily to harvest risk premia.

BCI Invests In BMS

BMS Group, (BMS), an independent specialist (re)insurance broker, has completed a significant equity investment by affiliates of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) and Preservation Capital Partners (PCP). BMS has continued to expand its capabilities, with over 140 significant broking, analytical, and actuarial hires in the past 18 months. For 38 years, it has provided comprehensive, customised solutions in the fields of wholesale, reinsurance and direct insurance, and capital advisory.

Associates Join Osler

Omar Sunderji and Olivia Suppa have joined the Toronto team as associates at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Prior to joining Osler, Sunderji worked as regulatory counsel for a provincial Crown corporation and trained in private practice as an associate at a downtown Toronto law firm. Suppa worked as an intern under the ministers responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan at Ontario’s Ministry of Finance and as a research assistant in the area of refugee law.

Session Looks At Employment Law

‘Changes & Trends in Employment Law: Avoiding the Pitfalls’ is the focus of a CPBI Pacific event. Ryan Anderson, a lawyer and partner at Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP, will discuss BC Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Code changes that require immediate attention by employers, even if some of the changes in question do not appear to impact their day-to-day business. It takes place October 18 in Vancouver, BC. For information, visit Employment Law