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Tracking the funded status of pension plans as at October 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 September 30, 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 October, global equity markets (CAD) and alternative investments showed positive returns. However, Canadian equity markets, Canadian universe bonds, Canadian long-term bonds and Canadian longterm provincial bonds showed negative returns. With a return of 0.5%, the highly diversified portfolio (HD) outperformed the 60/40 portfolio (0.2%) and the low volatility portfolio (LDI1) (-0.1%).

Annuity purchase rates increased along with the commuted value rates used in the calculation of solvency liabilities. As a result, the solvency liabilities decreased for a medium duration plan. For this type of plan, an investment in the 60/40, in the HD and 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 October 31, 2019 for three different portfolios
portfolio
Since the beginning of the year, driven by strong positive returns in the Canadian fixed income and equity markets, global equity markets and alternative investments, the 60/40 portfolio, the LDI portfolio and HD portfolio returned 14.2%, 15.6% and 14.2% respectively. The solvency liabilities fluctuated over that same period from 15.2% to 16.0% depending on the duration of the group of retirees. The variation in the plan’s solvency ratio as at October 31, 2019 stands between -1.2% and 0.0%.

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 - November 2019 (PDF)