Pension system strength is ‘Canada’s best-kept secret’: CPPIB head

By Staff | November 16, 2017 | Last updated on November 16, 2017
2 min read

More than half of Canadians (64%) fear the Canada Pension Plan, or CPP, won’t be around when they retire. But this is a “misplaced belief,” said Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) president and CEO Mark Machin on Tuesday at Advocis’ Symposium 2017, citing the results of a CPPIB 2016 survey.

Machin—who says the three pillars of Canada’s retirement income system are CPP, OAS/GIS, and workplace pensions and personal savings—discussed the sustainability of the national pension plan and how advisors can spread that message during his lunch keynote speech.

Read: Should clients take CPP’s post-retirement benefit before age 65?

Investors are nervous about their futures for several reasons, said Machin. Not only do they “worry about their finances and their ability to save enough,” but they also see that Canada, along with the rest of the world, is facing economic challenges.

Clients are uneasy due to factors such as demographic shifts and the rise of the aging population, along with how accelerating technological change is affecting economies. Says Machin: “We tend to think of such forces in terms of their impact on institutions, corporations and economies.”

However, these forces can also have day-to-day impact. More of your clients are caring for aging parents, for example, or may work in industries where technological change is a disrupter, so it’s no surprise that “many are deeply worried about their future[s],” says Machin.

Read: Automation, technology put retail jobs at risk

How can you help? Machin says educating people as early as possible about their retirement income options is key. During his speech, he said such conversations help boost investors’ “awareness and understanding,” as well as Canadians’ overall financial literacy.

A fact you can share with clients, he said, is Canada’s chief actuary finds the CPP “is sustainable over 75 years,” assuming a real rate of return of 3.9%. The CPPIB’s ten-year annualized real rate of return is 5.3%, he added.

When asking about people’s post-work worries, one thing to gauge is whether or not there’s a gap between their fears and real expectations. For instance, CPPIB found that while six in 10 survey respondents questioned the CPP’s longevity, 42% of working-age Canadians still expected to rely heavily on the pension plan. That figure was up 13% from 15 years ago.

Read: Working Canadians fail at this basic financial task

For tips on talking retirement and more, read the following articles. Also, check out our event live tweets.

RRSP, pension limits are outdated, report says

What 80-somethings expect from their advisors

Millennials still aren’t investing for the long term

How to project fixed income returns

Help frugal retirees loosen the purse strings

Four common obstacles to clients’ retirement plans staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.