Pension Plan Governance

Issue

In the past few years, governance of pension plans has received much attention. It began to receive increased public scrutiny in November 1998 with the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce report entitled "Report on the Governance Practices of Individual Investors."

Action to Date

As input to the Senate Committee’s work, ACPM produced a report in 1992 entitled "Governance of Pension Plans." Subsequent to the Senate Committee’s Report, ACPM, the Pension Investment Association of Canada (PIAC), and OSFI jointly developed a governance self-assessment questionnaire. In December 1999, the group issued a document entitled "Pension Plan Governance and Self-Assessment." This was sent to all ACPM members in January 2000.

In 2002, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) initiated a review of pension plan governance with a view to producing a document summarizing good governance principles and practices for use by pension regulatory authorities and pension plans across Canada. As part of this initiative, CAPSA constituted a broadly representative industry task force, of which ACPM was a member. As a result of this work, and after "road testing" an early version in October 2003, CAPSA released its final document entitled "CAPSA Pension Plan Governance Guidelines and Self-Assessment Questionnaire".

Future Action

At this point, ACPM’s action on this matter is one of observing and monitoring how well the CAPSA initiative has been received by its members, and how exactly the various provincial regulatory authorities are reacting to and using the CAPSA document. ACPM’s position is a strongly-held view that governance is important but that assessment of it should remain a voluntary, internal matter for each pension plan governing body. ACPM does not believe that regulators should make governance self-assessment compulsory, nor should they incorporate formal governance self-assessment mechanisms into their risk reviews of pension plans.
 

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