Trustees Charged in Canadian Pension Plan Investigation

June 30, 2006 ( - The Financial Services Commission of Ontario said it has filed 15 charges against trustees of the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan for alleged breaches of the Pension Benefits Act relating to questionable investments made over a two-year period.

The Toronto Star reports the commission accused eight current and two former trustees of “failing to exercise the care, diligence and skill in the administration and investment of the pension fund … that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise in dealing with the property of another person.”  

After its investigation last year, the commission issued an 82-page report accusing the plan of investing $280 million in improper investments, some tied to business and property ventures of a convicted former priest (See Pension Plan Accused of Questionable Investments ). The commission’s charges include a charge that trustees violated pension law by investing more than 10% of the plan’s assets with one or two associated persons or affiliated companies when it provided sizable funds to the former priest’s firms, according to the Star.

In February, after repeatedly requesting information, the commission accused the plan of not having documentation demonstrating the board of trustees had taken adequate steps to complete a proper due diligence review with respect to certain investments in Caribbean properties (See Ontario Regulators Charge Pension Fund Lacks Supporting Investment Material).

Officials of the plan deny any wrongdoing. The news report said that, under the Pension Benefits Act, trustees can face a maximum fine of $100,000 on conviction of each charge. The Act has no provision for removal of the trustees.