Pension plan sponsor appetite strong for new innovative design options
Across Canada, innovative pension plan design options are continuing to emerge for employers considering a move away from traditional single employer, in-house defined benefit or defined contribution plans.
During an event last week at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP’s office in Toronto, four pension industry professionals shared their experiences developing new plan design options.
During the event, James Pierlot, chief executive officer at Blue Pier Administration Corp., also shared details about his organization’s plan, which is targeted at small- and medium-sized employers. “The genesis of Blue Pier is a focus on the 12 million people in Canada who don’t have pensions.”
It’s a multi-employer, multi-jurisdictional pension plan governed by a board of trustees. “It’s open to any employer that meets certain threshold criteria, which include employee income, and it’s designed to make it possible for any employer anywhere in Canada to offer a customized workplace retirement plan without the costs and risks of operating a stand-alone plan,” said Pierlot. “Each participating employer chooses its own design features including, for example, the classes of employees who will be eligible to join, any waiting periods that might apply, the contributions or benefit structure, etc.”
Once employees are enrolled in the plan, all other responsibilities, aside from contributions, fall to Blue Pier, including asset custody and management, record keeping, regulatory compliance, member communications and benefits payments. Blue Pier also takes on the statutory and fiduciary responsibility for service delivery.
“We’re kind of like middle-ware, the Amazon of pensions,” said Pierlot. “We’re not selling the products ourselves, but we’re trying to put the best solutions in front of our clients.”
The plan has some participating employers and is looking to grow, he added. “We know that people want pensions and we know that many employers want to offer them as a means of attracting and retaining staff within a competitive labour market, and we’re ready to deliver on that. We have the institutional support we need and our team is growing.”