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Tracking the funded status of pension plans as at February 28, 2019

This graph shows the changes in the financial position of a typical defined benefit plan with an average duration since December 31, 2018. For this illustration, assets and liabilities of the plan were each arbitrarily set at $100 million as at December 31, 2018. The estimate of the solvency liabilities reflects the new CIA guidance for valuations effective December 31, 2018 or later. The following graph shows the impact of three typical portfolios on plan assets and the effect of interest rate changes on solvency liabilities of medium duration.

The evolution of the financial situation of pension plans since December 31, 2018

The evolution of the financial situation of pension plans since December 31, 2018

During the month of February, Canadian universe bonds, Canadian longterm bonds, Canadian long-term provincial bonds, Canadian equity markets, the global equity markets (CAD) as well as alternative investments showed positive returns. With a return of 1.9%, the 60/40 portfolio outperformed the highly diversified portfolio (HD) (1.8%) and the low volatility portfolio (LDI1) (1.5%).

The prescribed CIA annuity purchase rates increased while the commuted value rates used in the calculation of solvency liabilities remained stable. As a result, the solvency liabilities remained stable for a medium duration plan. For this type of plan, an investment in the 60/40, in the HD or in the LDI portfolio resulted in an increase of the solvency ratio.

The table shows the impact of past returns on plan assets and the effect of interest rate changes on solvency liabilities of a medium duration plan, based on the plan’s initial solvency ratio as at December 31, 2018. The graph shows the asset allocation of the three typical portfolios.

Evolution of the solvency ratio as at February 28, 2019 for three different portfolios
portfolio

Please contact your Morneau Shepell consultant for a customized analysis of your pension plan.


Comments

  1. No consideration has been made for contributions paid to the plan or for benefits paid out of the plan.
  2. Solvency liabilities are projected using the rates prescribed by the CIA for the purpose of determining pension commuted values.
  3. The underlying typical defined benefit plan is a final average plan with no pension indexing, including active and inactive participants representing 60% and 40% of liabilities, respectively.
  4. Assets are shown at full market value. Returns on assets are based on three typical benchmark portfolios.

1  Liability driven investment


News & Views - March 2019 (PDF)