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PPAC 1 - Introduction to Pension Plans
AUGUST 14-18, 2017
Location - Old Mill - Toronto

NOVEMBER 13-17, 2017

FEBRUARY 5-9, 2018
(Winter registration)

Pension Plan Administration Certificate (PPAC)

The Centre for Employee Benefits responded to the rapidly expanding and evolving world of pension plan administration by developing the Pension Plan Administration Certificate (well known by the acronym PPAC). The aim - to equip today’s working pension professionals with in-depth background knowledge, exposure to advanced level pension and pension fund investment topics, and hands-on practical skills.

Whether you are an HR professional, plan administrator, or member of a pension committee, you require a sound working knowledge of registered pension plans, including the ability to interpret, and accurately complete, federal and provincial regulatory reporting documentation. You must have knowledge about emerging trends in pension design and investment, government legislation, actuarial valuations and pension accounting. PPAC provides this essential background.

The PPAC program is delivered in three, one week seminars that progressively build your pension expertise. Click on the menu links above for more information on each seminar.

Seminar content continually reflects industry changes and trends. The following describes subjects that may be addressed in each level.

Introduction to Pension Plans

Seminar One is designed to teach pension basics - terminology, design, funding, legislation, etc. Basic retirement and estate planning concepts are also studies to give participants a solid understanding of how pensions are integrated into the retirement planning process.

Legislation and Pension Plans

Seminar Two focuses on provincial and federal legislation, required reporting and the resultant effects on plan design. It also deals with plan administration and related issues.

The Dollars and Cents of Pensions

Seminar Three examines key financial concepts, pension governance, actuarial valuations, pension fund liabilities, financial reporting issues and the various implications on cash flow.

PPAC 1: Seminar Content

Registered Pension Plan Fundamentals

  • Pension plans – what are they?
  • The implement/no implement decision
  • Key pension terminology & definitions
  • Pension plan documentation
  • The major players
  • Practical exercise – interpreting the plan document

Pension Plan Legislation and Design Basics

  • Legislative overview
  • The Income Tax Act
    • who enforces
    • impact on plan design
  • Minimum standards legislation
    • who regulates
    • impact on plan design
  • Pension plan types
    • defined benefit
    • defined contributions
  • Risks by plan type
  • Practical exercise – plan compliance with legislation

Retirement Income Basics

  • The sources of income at retirement
  • Government sources
    • CPP; OAS; GIS
    • income replacement ratio tool
  • Employer sources
    • DB, DC, other CAPS
    • vehicles for locked-in/non locked RPP funds
  • Personal and other savings
    • savings, investments; home equity; SPP
  • Protecting the income streams
    • tax planning
    • life insurance, estate affairs, etc.
  • Practical exercise – DB calculations & income replacement

Communicating the Pension Message

  • What is communication?
  • Communication vs disclosure
  • The pension communication policy
  • Communication error liabilities
  • Employer communication challenges
  • Tool kit for communication
    • media, methods & tools
    • budgeting & professional help
  • Create the “right” implementation plan

PPAC 2: Seminar Content

Pension Benefits/Standards Legislation

  • Evolution of provincial legislation
  • Impacts of legislation
  • Legislation impacts plan administration
    • plan registrations
      • where to register a pension plan
      • plan documentation – legal & filings
    • plan amendments
    • plan windups
  • professional help
    • actuarial & legal
  • Practical exercise – case study scenarios

Income Tax Legislation

  • Review of ITA & RPPs
  • ITA filing requirements for RPPs
  • The Pension Adjustment system
    • PAs, PSPAs & PARs
  • The ITA and DB plans
  • The ITA and DC plans
  • Practical exercises – calculations throughout

Legislation & Plan Administration

  • The pension plan Administrator
  • Recordkeeping and administrative functions
  • Legislation affecting pension administration
  • Administrative challenges – minimum standards
    • joining & leaving the plan
    • death benefits & spousal rights
    • disclosure
  • Multi-Jurisdictional challenges
  • Practical exercises – plan membership reconciliation & AIR

Pension Plan Governance

  • What is pension governance?
  • Why governance is needed
  • The rules and obligations of the game
  • Litigation – the outcome of bad governance
  • Pension industry guidelines
  • Pension administrator liability
  • Elements of a governance system
  • Case study – Identifying governance issues

PPAC 3: Seminar Content

Commuted Values and Related Financial Calculations

  • It’s all about accumulation
  • The CAP income stream
    • lump sum accumulation
  • The DB income stream
    • Commuted values
      • impacted by legislation
        • Minimum Standards Legislation
        • Income Tax Act
    • impacted by CIA Standards
  • Using the calculation tools
  • Practical exercise – pulling it all together

Actuarial Valuation Process

  • What is an actuarial valuation?
  • Funding a pension plan
  • The valuation process:
    • data collection
    • assumptions & methods
    • calculating assets and liabilities
    • the gain/loss analysis
    • contribution requirements
    • preparing the report
  • Practical exercise: case study project

Understanding the Actuarial Valuation

  • Funding for pension benefits (going concern & solvency)
  • Accounting for pension benefits
  • Disclosure requirements vs. communication
  • Pension deficits & surplus
  • Practical exercises – calculations throughout

Pension Plan Assets

  • Requirement to fund
  • Three interdependent policies – funding, investment & benefit
  • Pension plan investing differentiators
    • Time horizon
    • Tax sheltering
    • Legislation & regulations
    • CAPSA guidelines
  • Pension investing basics
    • Capital Markets and pension fund assets
    • typical pension plan assets
    • risk & return, diversification & correlation
    • strategic and tactical asset mixing
    • measuring fund performance
  • Understanding pension plan costs