The CAAT Pension Plan – One of the key differences in the CAAT Pension Plan is its strong governance. We have two boards – one is called the Board of Trustees, one is called the Sponsors’ Committee.
Each is comprised 50% of members and 50% of employer representatives. That in itself is not unique. What is unique to CAAT is how well they work together and how focused they are on securing the pension benefits for current and future members of the Pension Plan. Good governance is essential to the running of a pension plan. You can have a great plan design and you can have experts running the pension plan if you don’t have good governance that could all fall apart.
Good governance to me is making sure that everybody is aligned to the same goals. Good governance also means not shying away from the challenges. In the last eight years there have been many challenges for pension plans: lower interest rates, increasing longevity; all these things are very tough challenges for pension plans to deal with. But our governors have taken each challenge when it comes, had a very deep discussion- sometimes over several meetings then always arrived at a very strong conclusion and always in the best interest of the members of the Pension Plan.
At the end of the day, our members do not want to be investment experts. They don’t want to think about what happens if they end up retiring before they expected, or how long they live.
All these things cause financial stress for Canadians. We’ve seen many research papers that show a lot of Canadians are much stressed. But we’ve also seen research that shows that members that belong to a secure defined benefit pension plan like CAAT actually have lower stress overall. We find that workplace pension plans that are secure and have the right benefits – and secure benefits and appropriate contributions are exactly what Canadians want. We’ve worked with some of our peer pension plans across Canada and developed research that shows most people want a secure, lifetime, predictable pensions.
This is exactly what the CAAT Pension Plan delivers, and this is what keeps us relevant overall. Even though there’s portability; more shorter-term jobs for some people, having many employers especially within an industry join a pension plan allows members to move freely between any of those employers, and their pension plan benefit continue to grow seamlessly. This is a very important feature and is one of the aspects of keeping pension plans relevant.
Keeping the Pension Secure
One thing I can assure members is that the security of their benefit is very strong. This is our sole focus of the pension plan; to make sure that they have a secure income for the rest of their life in retirement.
And we take that goal very seriously. In all the aspects – everything that we do, whether it’s on investments, pension administration, funding, even communications and stakeholder relations; all of these things point to assuring members that their plan is secure, but also ensuring, through our actions and our policies that the plan remains secure over the long term.