Future of Defined-Contribution Pension Plans Threatened by Potential Lawsuits, Protection for Sponsors Required: C.D. Howe Institute

    TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - With pension-related litigation on the rise,
employers who offer defined-contribution plans and group RRSPs require safe
harbours, or legal protection, for good-faith actions to foster smart employee
choices. Without such protection, the continued availability of these plans to
employees is at risk, says a new analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute.
    In the study, "Safe Harbours: Providing Protection for Canada's
Money-Purchase Plan Sponsors," William B. P. Robson, President and CEO of the
Institute says employers who would like to encourage their employees to save,
invest and withdraw more wisely in defined-contribution pension plans may
nevertheless pull back for fear of lawsuits. Safe harbours for such employers
could improve the outlook for Canadians who will do most of their retirement
saving in such plans, he says.
    To illuminate where safe-harbour provisions might help plan sponsors, the
author reviews several common problems in self-directed retirement saving -
and ways plan sponsors might mitigate them. Legal problems could arise for
employers who, in good faith, encourage potential participants to join, save
more, invest in lower-cost vehicles, or cash out in certain ways - in each
case, a disappointed ex-employee might argue that the employer's actions had
caused harm.
    Robson identifies ways to address potential legal problems with safe
harbour provisions.
    The study "Safe Harbours: Providing Protection for Canada's
Money-Purchase Plan Sponsors," is available at

For further information:

For further information: William B.P. Robson, President and CEO, C.D.
Howe Institute, (416) 865-1904, Email: cdhowe@cdhowe.org

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