Pooled Registered Pension Plans receive majority support in poll of small and medium business employers

Almost 70 per cent of those without workplace plans are interested in offering the new retirement savings option to employees

TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Small and medium enterprise (SME) owners and executives are enthusiastic to adopt the new Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs), according to a recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA).

The poll revealed 68 per cent of SME employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan of any kind are interested in providing PRPPs. Over 800 companies were surveyed in early December.

"Small and medium sized business executives are ready to embrace PRPPs as they look for new ways to keep employees and attract new people," said Frank Swedlove, President, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. "We are on the cusp of making a fundamental shift in the pension landscape."

Based on available Statistics Canada and industry data, more than 50 per cent of private-sector workers do not have access to a workplace retirement plan.  PRPPs will give them the opportunity to participate, and at a low cost usually only realized by very large pension plans.

The poll also showed that a large majority (71 per cent) of all SMEs agree that employers should be required to offer some form of retirement plan to employees, especially given that PRPPs will be a low-cost alternative. Support for making it a requirement was strong in every region in Canada. It was highest among those who already have a plan (79 per cent), and still very strong (66 per cent) among those who do not have a plan.

"These savvy employers know a good thing when they see it," added Swedlove. "Universal access will assure that all Canadian workers have an opportunity to save at the workplace."

Even though it is not mandatory for employers to contribute to the PRPPs in the current legislation, 73 per cent of SME executives interested in providing PRPPs to their employees said they will "look at ways their business could contribute to the plan over and above what the employee puts into it".

Two-thirds of survey participants believe that their employees will be interested in participating in PRPPs.

In November, the Federal Government tabled legislation introducing PRPPs.  Provincial governments are expected to introduce similar legislation over coming months.  PRPPs will provide small business owners and their employees with access to large-scale, low-cost, professionally administered pension plans.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry administers more than 70 per cent of pensions plans for Canada's small and medium-sized businesses and the vast majority of group RRSPs. CLHIA members manage more than 45,000 employer pension, group RRSP, and other savings programs serving more than 5.1 million Canadians with almost $140 billion in assets.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry provides a wide range of financial security products, including life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance, to more than 26 million Canadians and their dependents. Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business.

About the Survey
A national online survey of 803 executives (senior manager level and up) from small and medium-size enterprises (SME's) was completed from December 6, 2011 to December 15, 2011. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.46% 19 times out of 20.

SOURCE Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

For further information:

Media enquiries contact: Wendy Hope, Vice President, External Relations (613) 230-0031 or (613) 986-1853

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