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George & Bell Perspectives.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

January 13, 2014. Category: Firm News, Pension Plans, Retirement. No Comments on Happy New Year.
Written by Susan Reynolds.

We are a few days into 2014 and for some people this means reflecting back at the year that was and anticipating the year ahead and beyond.

Personally 2013 was a year of change for me, the biggest of course was making a job change and joining Brendan and Jeremy and the rest of the gang at George and Bell!

In the pension world, pension funds are in the news and are being reported as doing better at the end of 2013 due in part to the decent equity returns in the year. This basically means that the pension assets are converging closer to the associated pension liabilities resulting in plans being closer to fully funded, something that has been far from true for many pension plans since the downturn of 2008.

However, there are many Canadians who are not in private pension plans and/or who do not have sufficient funds to retire and maintain their current standard of living. Federal and provincial politicians have had discussions on pension reform, but no real progress is being made due to the complex nature of the problem and the opposing agendas on all sides.

Looking ahead to 2014 we can expect that with public pressure there will no doubt be more discussions and eventual federal pension reform of some sort in the future. Whether that is the near future is still a question.

I expect that for BC, Bill 38 – the revised Pension Benefits Standards Act – may actually come into effect in 2014 after being passed back in 2012. The delay is due to the accompanying regulations that need to be finalized and proclaimed into law. This revised Act, when it is in effect, should enhance the rights of pension plan members and reduce pension costs for plan administrators.

The aging of the Canadian population, retirement, private and public pensions are increasingly being reported in the media and are topics of conversation. I envision this to translate into the current younger generations being more knowledgeable and better prepared for their retirement years, no matter when or what that may look like in the future, than some people heading into retirement today. One can only hope.

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