The OMERS Plan remains in a funding deficit of approximately $9.9 billion (as at December 31, 2012). There are three tools available to us in reducing the funding deficit – investment returns, contribution rates and benefit levels.
The 2010 contribution rate increases and benefit reductions, coupled with our investment strategy were aimed at eliminating the deficit by the year 2025. However, it is important that we continue to review all three tools in the context of the ever changing economic and demographic environment to ensure the Plan continues to be sustainable well into the future. OMERS is staying the course with its investment strategy based on the most recent asset/liability study. At the same time, the OMERS Sponsors Corporation (SC) is exploring options for plan design changes to enhance plan sustainability.
Today, our contribution rates are at an unprecedented high. Since there is limited capacity to increase contribution rates and further increases would be unwelcome, any disruptions (economic or otherwise) would be difficult to weather and could create significant pressure to reduce benefits.
It’s with this reality in mind that the SC has tasked its Plan Design Information Committee (PDIC) with exploring benefit change options and identifying events that would indicate when these changes are needed to put the plan on a more sustainable footing.
This approach represents a greater degree of collaboration at the SC than contemplated by the current Specified Plan Change process and will ensure that a broad spectrum of perspectives are addressed.
In the meantime, the formal 2014 Specified Plan Change (SPC) process will start on March 1st and stakeholder submissions for proposed plan changes are due prior to that date. Since it is too early to indicate how the PDIC’s review and the 2014 SPC process will come together, stakeholders are encouraged to use the current channels to submit plan change proposals to the SC, or submit their suggestions via email. Your input will be considered by the SC and the PDIC regardless of how the processes unfold. We will provide updates in future editions of this newsletter and on our websites.
If you or your organization would like to discuss the 2014 Specified Plan Change process, please contact Chris Vanden Haak.