Program

07:15-08:15 Buffet Breakfast
08:15-08:25 Opening Remarks

Deborah McMillan, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee for the Pension Seminar

08:25-09:40 PEN-1 Update from the Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting
  • Moderator: Melissa Kirshenbaum
  • Speakers: Michael Banks, Greg Heise

The Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting (PPFRC) will provide an update on its activities and projects over the past year. Topics to be discussed include:

  • The Revised Standards of Practice for Pension Commuted Values;
  • An update on the status and direction of revisions to the Standards of Practice — Practice-Specific Standards for Pension Plans and the Educational Notes to be included with this Standard;
  • The Educational Note, Assumptions for Hypothetical Wind-up and Solvency Valuations with Effective Dates Between Dec. 31, 2008 and Dec. 30, 2009; Delegates will have an opportunity to give feedback on these issues.
09:40-10:25PEN-2 Solving Canada’s Pension Coverage Problem: A Modest Proposal
  • Moderator: Sophie Cournoyer
  • Speaker: Keith Ambachtsheer*, KPA Advisory Services Ltd

Keith Ambachtsheer is the author of the C.D. Howe Institute’s pension paper, The Canada Supplementary Pension Plan (CSPP): Towards an Adequate, Affordable Pension for All Canadians. The CSPP would be a solution for approximately 10 million Canadian workers not covered by a company pension plan. It would be similar to the recent “creation of a low-cost, national, funded pension savings scheme” in the UK based on recommendations by the Turner Commission. Mr. Ambachtsheer will address issues such as: how a program like the CSPP would impact the occupational pension plan industry? How does the CSPP align with the pension reform review and recommendations published by panels from Ontario, Alberta/British Columba, and Nova Scotia?

10:25-10:45 Refreshment Break
10:45-12:00PEN-3 Market Turmoil and Pension Plans
  • Moderator: Melissa Kirshenbaum
  • Speakers: Patricia Croft*, RBC Asset Management, Marlene Puffer* Twist Financial

In 2008, we saw extraordinary capital market volatility as global equity markets plunged, and government bond yields tumbled to multi-decade lows as the credit crisis evolved into an economic and solvency crisis. Significant uncertainties still persist in early 2009 as equity markets struggle to find a bottom while government bond yields remain at very low levels. There is a wide dispersion of yields between government and corporate bonds as well as between nominal and real return bonds. During this session, Patricia Croft, Chief Economist at RBC Global Asset Management and Marlene Puffer, Managing Director of Twist Financial, will discuss current economic and capital market conditions, and the expectation for the coming years in relation to Canadian pension plans including the impact on actuarial assumption-setting and pension assets.

12:00-13:40 Luncheon
  • Luncheon Speaker: Rex Murphy

Obama-Mania — Where were you on Inauguration Day?

Social commentator and editorial journalist, Rex Murphy, will demystify the global fascination with Barack Obama. What makes this 44th U.S. President so popular and how will his presidency impact Canada?

Described as The National’s “star opinion-jockey”, Rex presents informed, entertaining and fiercely witty commentary on current events and noteworthy subjects. His endearing style showcases a sarcastic intellect and deep insight into issues affecting all Canadian individuals and businesses. Graced with his own brand of persuasion, no one walks away not knowing exactly what Rex Murphy thinks.

Rex works as a television commentator on The National Magazine, a Sunday afternoon host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup, an editorial contributor to CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera, and as a weekly columnist in The Globe and Mail.

13:50-15:10 PEN-4 The Dos and Don’ts of Applying the Funding Relief Rules
  • Moderator: Sophie Cournoyer
  • Speakers: Pierre Girardin, Mario Marchand, Mark Prefontaine*, Acting Deputy Superintendent of Pensions, Government of Alberta

Pension plans have been hit hard by the financial crisis. Large negative investment returns are the norm for pension funds in 2008. On top of this, historically low bond yields are driving solvency liabilities to new ceilings. Continuing to use current solvency funding rules would increase deficiency contributions to unsustainable levels for many pension plan sponsors. Accordingly, the federal government and some provincial governments have announced funding relief measures in order to stretch out required deficiency contributions. A representative from Régie des rentes du Québec will present the rules adopted in Québec.

Pierre Girardin was heavily involved with the committee set up by the Québec government to define the Québec funding relief rules. His presentation will focus on what plan sponsors need to consider when deciding whether to adopt the funding relief measures. Representatives from the Régie des rentes du Québec and the Government of Alberta will present the rules recently adopted in their provinces.

15:10-15:30 Refreshment Break
15:30-16:50PEN-5 Innovation: The Pension Industry’s Best Hope for the Future
  • Moderator: Deborah McMillan
  • Speakers: Robert Brown, Christopher Brown*, Alberta/BC Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards
    Peter Hayes

It’s no longer a Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution debate. Over the last six months, three pension standards review panels released reports with recommendations on pension reform for their respective provinces. Our three exceptional speakers will discuss why innovation in the pension industry, as outlined in each of the reports, is paramount to pension reform. In particular, Peter Hayes will focus on Nova Scotia’s innovative ideas and “promises to keep”, including the new proposed minimum funding standard. In addition, Christopher Brown, who co-chaired the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards for Alberta and BC, will discuss “getting our acts together” with some innovative pension reform ideas. The session will wrap up with Robert Brown providing a “fine balance” picture with comparative ideas from the Report of the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions while examining the common thread that runs through the three reports.

16:50-17:00 Closing Remarks

Sophie Cournoyer, Vice-Chairperson of the Organizing Committee for the Pension Seminar