On January 25, 2016, the Financial Services Commission of
Ontario ("FSCO") issued a new policy that describes the
roles and responsibilities of administrators of registered pension
plans (policy A300-101). It replaces aging policies
which were published in 1990 and 1992 (policies A300-100 and
A300-150). Things have not changed drastically in the last
two and a half decades. In fact, much of the new policy echoes the
old. Some of the new elements in the policy refer to recent
legislative and regulatory changes. In summary:
FSCO emphasizes the key responsibilities of pension plan
administrators to comply with the federal investment regulations
and the new requirements regarding environmental, social and
governance factors with respect to the Statement of Investment
Policies and Procedures.
Regulatory filings must be made electronically through the
Pension Services Portal, including requests for an extension of a
As of January 1, 2015, administrators must provide statements
of pension benefits to former members and retired members every two
The administrator is responsible for addressing inquiries and
complaints from plan beneficiaries, or delegating the task to an
agent if the administrator does not have the necessary
FSCO emphasizes that the administrator must monitor and review
delegated activities and that certain duties cannot be delegated.
More information can be found in CAPSA Guideline No. 6.
The conflicts of interest section of the new policy has been
expanded to reference CAPSA Guideline No. 4, while another section
of the policy expounds on the "prudent person rule" as
the fiduciary standard that applies to administrators.
Finally, the new policy sets out the need for prudent
record-keeping practices, making reference to the relevant FSCO policy, and the administrator's duty
to make certain records available for inspection.
Ontario plan administrators will pay more to the regulator
On February 10, 2016, FSCO published its 2015-2016 preliminary
pension assessment for the entire pension sector, and issued
pension assessment invoices for all Ontario-registered pension
plans. Primarily, these invoices set out the amount that must be
paid for the year by each pension plan administrator to cover all
estimated expenses and expenditures incurred by FSCO for the
pension sector, along with a per member cost for their own
This assessment is, however, simply an estimate of FSCO's
expenses and expenditures for this fiscal year. The actual cost
will only be known by March of 2017. At that point, next year's
preliminary assessment will have been issued absorbing this
year's over or undervaluation of the actual cost of FSCO's
The 2014-2015 total pension assessment for Ontario was
approximately $15 million. The current (2015-2016) preliminary
pension assessment is slightly higher.
New FSCO form for joint & survivor pension waiver
FSCO has issued a new Form 8 to be used by a former spouse to waive
his/her right to a survivor benefit on the death of a retired
member in the case of a marriage breakdown. It is essential that
plan administrators use this new form.
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