Q & A with the Chair

May 15, 2013
Rick Miller
The following are common questions members ask Rick Miller, Chair of the OMERS Administration Corporation (OAC) Board of Directors.

Is the OMERS pension plan in good shape?

Yes, the OMERS Plan is healthy and operating well: during 2012, the Plan defined benefit component collected about $3.1 billion in contributions and paid out about $2.7 billion in pension payments and still has over $60 billion in net assets.
As for the funding deficit and what impact this may have on our ability to pay pensions, keep in mind that the funding deficit is an actuarial deficit, determined from the cost of future pensions looking 70 years or more into the future. Over time, pension plans like OMERS cycle through periods of actuarial surplus and deficit. I’ve experienced these cycles since I first joined the OMERS Board in 1997. Taking steps to deal with the deficit provides assurance to members that their pensions will be there for them when they retire.

How will you continue to grow the Fund?

In addition to shifting the asset mix to include more private market investments, and managing all assets more directly, OMERS is also focused on raising capital. A larger pool of investment capital will enable OMERS to compete for larger global investment opportunities, which tend to deliver more stable, long-term returns. This is why OMERS is seeking to enter into long-term relationships with like-minded international investment partners. OMERS is also offering to provide investment services and products to other pension plans, as well as offering optional retirement products to OMERS members – such as Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), launched in 2011.

How will you continue to grow the Fund?

In addition to shifting the asset mix to include more private market investments, and managing all assets more directly, OMERS is also focused on raising capital. A larger pool of investment capital will enable OMERS to compete for larger global investment opportunities, which tend to deliver more stable, long-term returns. This is why OMERS is seeking to enter into long-term relationships with like-minded international investment partners. OMERS is also offering to provide investment services and products to other pension plans, as well as offering optional retirement products to OMERS members – such as Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), launched in 2011.

The AVC return for 2012 was 9.5%. Why can’t I participate in the program past age 71?

I have heard time and time again that members want the right to receive an income stream from the AVC component of the Plan rather than being forced to withdraw or transfer their AVC funds after age 71. This is not currently possible under Ontario law.
I have urged all Plan members, whether over the age of 71 or younger, to contact their MPP and request their support to have this issue rectified during the review of the Regulations for Bill 120 – Securing Pension Benefits Now and in the Future Act, 2010.