Boardroom

The 2015 workplace mental health priorities report

Read what employers, employees and physician think about mental health in the workplace.

Business man on computer
News & Views

You are here

Tracking the funded status of pension plans as at May 31, 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 March 31, 2019 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 May, Canadian universe bonds, Canadian long-term bonds as well as Canadian long-term provincial bonds showed positive returns while Canadian equity markets, global equity markets (CAD) and alternative investments showed negative returns. With a return of 0.3%, the low volatility portfolio (LDI1) outperformed both the highly diversified portfolio (HD) (-1.4%) and the 60/40 portfolio (-1.6%).

The prescribed CIA Annuity purchase rates decreased while the commuted value rates used in the calculation of solvency liabilities increased during the month. As a result, the solvency liabilities decreased by 0.8% for a medium duration plan. For this type of plan, an investment in the 60/40 or in the HD portfolio resulted in a decrease of the solvency ratio and an investment in the LDI portfolio resulted in an increase of the 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 May 31, 2019 for three different portfolios
portfolio
Since the beginning of the year, driven by strong positive returns in the Canadian equity markets, global equity markets as well as the alternative investments, the 60/40 portfolio, the LDI portfolio and the HD portfolio returned 9.4%, 10.5% and 8.8% respectively. The solvency liabilities fluctuated over that same period from 8.8% to 9.8% depending on the duration of the group of retirees. The variation in the plan’s solvency ratio as at May 31, 2019 stands between -0.5% and 1.1%.

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 - June 2019 (PDF)