Canadian DB Sponsors Most Want Funding Flexibility

April 23, 2010 ( – A new poll by Aon Consulting Canada found employers believe that greater defined benefit funding flexibility is the most critical issue as regulators contemplate pension reforms.

A report in the Canadian publication Investment Executive said other issues ranked highly included resolving surplus ownership/asymmetry, increasing uniformity of pension rules, and allowing greater flexibility regarding design. The poll covered 125 organizations and was fielded in April. 

Of less importance, in the views of employers, was the need to tighten funding rules, expand member disclosure, and expand government pension guarantee programs.

“The results of our survey reinforce what’s been heard from many employers in various consultative forums,” noted Barry Gros, vice president of retirement in Aon’s Toronto office, according to the news report. “As it currently operates, the two-tailed funding framework of going concern and solvency valuations has fallen short of delivering security for members and flexibility for employers to manage their business during economic volatility. This is an area that needs fresh perspectives and solutions that go beyond a series of temporary funding relief measures.”

Aon said the rapid deterioration of DB pension plans in Canada illustrates how the patchwork of pension regulations has been difficult for national plan sponsors.