in Canada--An Innovation Worth
Target-benefit plans (TBPs) can deliver the cost predictability of DC plans combined with a defined-benefit-type pension to retirees, with predictable contribution levels, and enable pooling of longevity and investment risks.
Target-benefit plans combine elements of both DB and DC plans in order to address the limitations of each.
In most Canadian jurisdictions, pension laws do not currently accommodate single-employer target-benefit plans.
In essence, by attaching no value to the guarantees provided by traditional defined-benefit pension plans, the federal government has set employee compensation as if its employees were participating in target-benefit plans, not traditional defined-benefit pension plans.
When pensions are valued at fair value and properly reflected in compensation, employees may well prefer target-benefit plans to traditional defined-benefit plans.
Further reforms to the Pension Benefits Act should address this issue by more easily allowing pension "collectives," such as multi-employer, target-benefit plans for non-related employers.
A key principle of target-benefit plans is a greater ability to share risks through rebalancing the benefit/funding equation.
They are no longer even common in Canada's public sector, where far larger numbers of employees participate in target-benefit plans that take funding levels into account in their benefit formulas.
Their key virtue is that they drastically reduce the scope for intentional understating of costs--even more than target-benefit plans do--since the benefits they will pay are straightforwardly a function of the money that goes in and the assets they hold.
The second is by converting the PSPP to a target-benefit plan where the 20 percent contribution rate is fixed and the risks are borne entirely by members through adjustments, both positive and negative, to the pensions they receive.
Converting the PSPP to a target-benefit plan closes the compensation gap in the least painful way (by removing an expensive guarantee that employees underappreciate) while simultaneously solving or mitigating some other problems.