Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Canadian Pension Funds Not Doing Well, Will Ontario Have to Cough Up for Teachers, OMERS?

With the stocks markets around the world and especially Canada's being down and government bond yields abysmal, that's generally not a good recipe for Canada's defined benefit (public sector) pension plans. I'm surprised that the media hasn't made more of a big deal about it, but I suppose the possibility of a snap back in stock values kept articles from being written.

The Globe has now put out on article on the problems. Noteworthy quote:

"Pension consulting firm Aon Hewitt said the median solvency ratio for pension funds it tracks fell by more than 3 percentage points in January alone, ending the month at 82.9 per cent, a sharp drop from 87.6 per cent in mid-December."

That's a sizable decline for one month, when the number wasn't great to start with. Also important for Ontario is this:

"Pension plans are fully funded when the ratio of assets and liabilities is at 100 per cent, which means they have enough assets to cover their long-term funding obligations to plan members. Plan sponsors do not have to immediately cover shortfalls, but they must eventually make up the difference with cash contributions if the shortfalls continue."

With Ontario already having a large deficit, having to make a cash contribution to the Ontario Teachers pensions or OMERS isn't going to be fun (or popular but I wouldn't expect there to be a lot of media publicity about it).

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