Manulife tops Dalbar pension statement review

By Kate McCaffery | September 7, 2005 | Last updated on September 7, 2005
2 min read

(September 7, 2005) Manulife Financial’s defined contribution (DC) pension plan statements have come out on top in a recent review conducted by Dalbar Canada.

Manulife ranked first, with a score of 88.94 in Dalbar’s first ever review of DC pension statements in Canada. Overall, Dalbar says companies are cognizant of not “talking above” their clients, and tend to avoid the use of undefined abbreviations, jargon and legalese. Manulife stands out in this environment by providing effective investment commentary, a section titled “Looking ahead to your retirement” which tracks a participant’s retirement goals and what they can do to fill the gap, and uses language in the second person, making the statements very clean and personal.

Mark McDonald, Dalbar’s manager of client and public relations, says Manulife’s statements held up so well under scrutiny, they would likely stand out in any of the company’s industry surveys.

“The statements are forward looking. It actually has projections. That’s not something we see on any other statement in any other industry.”

McDonald says in general, the quality of DC pension statements among the six companies surveyed, were on par with statement in the mutual fund industry, and a little bit higher than brokerage statements in terms of quality.

In this survey of pension statements, the company surveyed six companies, and reported scores for the top five. Dalbar would not disclose the identity of the sixth company, “a large insurance company” which finished last in the survey. Among the top five DC pension plan statements evaluated, Manulife was first, followed by Desjardins Financial Security with a score of 72.15, Great West Life with a score of 71.12, Standard Life with a score of 64.31, and Fidelity with a score of 63.06. The sixth unnamed company earned a score of 59.94.

“This is our first foray into pension statements, that’s why the sample size is small,” says McDonald. “We’ll probably be expanding next time around.” The company surveys different parts of the industry bi-annually, to allow companies time to “allow for evolution in the industry” and give companies time to adopt changes. Dalbar plans to revisit pension statements sometime in 2007. Surveys in mutual fund and segregated fund statements are planned for 2006.

Dalbar specializes in measuring company service offerings in areas like communications, client satisfaction and service quality. In past surveys, Dalbar has examined the performance of client services representatives, brokerage statements, universal life statements and mutual fund company statements. The company also surveys internet offerings provided by different mutual fund companies, and how well they serve financial advisors.

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Kate McCaffery