November 14, 2008
In an unusual move, the Ontario Securities Commission has sent a letter to major Canadian companies asking them to review their pension plans and provide detailed pension information to their boards of directors. The letter does not request that responses be submitted to the regulator.
The OSC is not a pension regulator and does not oversee issues related to pension funding status.
Pension experts say the move signals the extent to which pension funding has become a critical issue for investors in light of the recent market downturn. Pension funds have seen their assets decline 15% to 20% in value this year, leaving most pension funds with large funding deficits.
Mitch Frazer says that said the OSC's interest in pension funding issues indicates the growing level of public concern about pensions. "Pensions are clearly becoming the hot topic in governance areas," he says. "We're seeing that more and more here at our law firm as we're getting a lot of calls from boards and executives."