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Responsibilities of fund holders

Effective January 1, 2012, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) issued policy A100-100, Pension Fund Administration – Responsibilities of Fund Holders. The fund holder is the financial institution or party that is retained by the administrator of the pension plan to hold the pension funds. While the administrator may delegate investment functions to a third party service provider, it has ultimate responsibility for the investment activities. The fund holder is an agent of the administrator with certain fiduciary responsibilities and other obligations under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (PBA) and Regulation, trust law (if applicable) and common law. The fund holder’s responsibilities include:

  • ensuring that the pension plan’s funds are held exclusively for the pension plan and that the fund holder has clear, accurate and up-to-date records;
  • holding funds in a manner required by the PBA and Regulation, and the Income Tax Act;
  • acting in accordance with the fund holder agreement;
  • reporting omissions or delays in contribution remittances to the Superintendent of Financial Services;
  • meeting reporting and recordkeeping responsibilities;
  • acting on direction from the administrator on the investment of the pension fund’s assets;
  • ensuring that the pension fund’s assets are held separate and apart from the employer’s and fund holder’s assets; and
  • reporting back to the administrator.

On March 1, 2011, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities ("CAPSA") released the final version of Guideline No. 5: Guideline on Fund Holder Arrangements ("Guideline No. 5") (Please see News & Views, Volume 8, Issue 4, dated April 14, 2011). It discussed the roles and responsibilities of key players in fund holder arrangements, such as the administrator. FSCO’s policy A100-100 gives greater weight to the regulator’s intention of making the fund holder, the administrator, and other relevant parties more responsible for good pension fund governance.