Make no mistake, 2017 was an excellent year for OMERS. Bolstered in large part by an impressive 11.5% net investment return, the Plan’s financial health continues to improve. It’s a very good news story. But it’s also an incomplete one.
Managing a successful defined benefit (DB) pension plan is more ultra-marathon than sprint. Despite recent positive results, the Plan has yet to recover fully from the economic meltdown of 2008. And, like all major DB plans in Canada, we face a number of realities that will impact our financial health over the next 10, 30, 50 and even 100 years.
Short-term blips, up or down, can be expected in the normal course of a defined benefit pension plan. The Plan remains on solid financial footing. And thanks to a steady stream of benefit improvements over the years, it continues to provide an essential source of retirement income for approximately 480,000 members.
There is, however, a very real need and obligation to fully assess the Plan – and to take the steps necessary to ensure that it remains sustainable, meaningful and affordable. It’s all about prudence, good governance, and making informed decisions today that will preserve the pension promise in the future.
That is the basis for the Comprehensive Plan Review. It’s about celebrating our past, acknowledging the present, and preparing for a very positive future.