Overview of the 2021 Pension Plans Survey (PPS) Findings

Earlier this year, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) commissioned Phoenix SPI, an independent research firm, to conduct a confidential online survey with administrators and professional advisors of active private pension plans regulated by OSFI. The primary objective was to assess OSFI’s performance and to collect suggestions for improvement. This year, the purpose of the PPS was also to get feedback on OSFI’s response to COVID-19. Surveys of pension plan stakeholders are generally conducted every three years.

Of the 1,131The target population for this research was administrators and professional advisors of federally regulated private pension plans with an asset size of $500,000 or more and at least 10 members. plan administrators and professionals invited to complete the online survey, 216 did so, resulting in an overall response rate of 19%. While the response rate is notably lower than it has been in the past, results remain comparable against previous iterations of the PPS.

Phoenix SPI provided OSFI with a report presenting the results from the survey in summary form; OSFI does not know how specific administrators and professional advisors responded.

The overall results from the 2021 survey are positive, with most areas comparable to results from the previous survey conducted in 2017. Among other areas, high positive ratings pertain to OSFI’s guidance material and consultations with industry when developing these guidelines, effectiveness in supervising plans under normal and COVID-19 circumstances, and timeliness in responding to enquiries.

The majority of respondents were aware of OSFI’s COVID-19 measures and most agreed that we identified the right measures, responded in a timely manner, and provided clear expectations regarding COVID-19 circumstances.

While overall assessments of OSFI were positive, in some areas we observed a shift compared to previous surveys, with many selecting “good” as opposed to “very good” or “somewhat effective” rather than “very effective”.

OSFI appreciates the feedback provided through this research and is finalizing its action plan to address areas identified for improvement. Future studies will monitor OSFI’s overall effectiveness and progress in relation to areas covered by the survey and past findings.

The final report is now available on the Library and Archives Canada website. For further information about the PPS methodology or the results, please send an e-mail to information@osfi-bsif.gc.ca.