The Universities Academic Pension Plan

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1 The Universities Academic Pension Plan Proposed Plan Changes For pensions earned after December 31,

2 UAPP Proposed Changes for Service after 2014 Table of Contents Introduction 1 Summary of Current Plan and Proposed Changes 2 How the Current Plan Works 3 Proposed Plan Changes 5 Examining the Impacts 10 Appendix 13 For more information, visit The information in this booklet has been designed to provide general information about the UAPP proposed plan changes to take effect January 1, 2015 for pensions earned for service after Should anything in this booklet conflict with the official plan documents or any applicable legislation, the information in the plan documents or the applicable legislation will prevail. The Universities Academic Pension Plan

3 Introduction The Universities Academic Pension Plan (UAPP) is jointly sponsored by the four academic staff associations and boards of governors of the participating universities (Alberta, Athabasca, Calgary, and Lethbridge) and The Banff Centre. The UAPP Sponsors have agreed to pursue approval for a suite of plan changes that will take effect on January 1, 2015 and apply ONLY to the portion of member pensions that are earned for service after December 31, They are presented as one complete package. A copy of the official text for the proposed plan amendments is included in the Appendix. The primary focus of these changes is to redirect a portion of the early retirement subsidy towards strengthening inflation protection for retiree pensions. The UAPP was designed in an environment that supported and encouraged early retirement among faculty and staff. But things are different today. Public sector plans face criticism of growing deficits fuelled by early retirement subsidies. People are living longer. Canadian life expectancy at birth has increased from age 75 in 1979 to age 82 in Like many other defined benefit plans across the country, the UAPP is facing funding challenges and examining ways to preserve the long term value of the plan for all members. The proposed changes to early retirement are asking members who choose to retire early to assume greater responsibility for funding a portion of the cost. Even though current inflation rates are at historic lows, some may remember the run-away rates of the 1970s (with a 7.4% average increase for the decade) and early 1980s (with 12.5% in 1981). As retirees collect their pensions for longer periods of time (because they live longer and/or retire early), it becomes increasingly important to protect purchasing power. At an annual inflation rate of 3%, pensions that have no COLA protection can lose up to 50% of their value in less than 25 years. Although members can often choose the age at which they retire, there is no choice involved in the risks associated with inflation. Under the proposed changes, members can still retire as early as age 55. However, there will be changes in the early retirement benefits earned for service after 2014 to recognize that the younger the age at which members retire, the higher the value of benefits they are likely to receive relative to their contributions to the plan. If approved, the changes will apply ONLY to the portion of member pensions that are earned for service after December 31, The improved inflation protection and the changes to early retirement will have little impact on members who are closer to retirement and a gradually increasing impact on newer members who will be accruing most of their pension service after These proposed changes will provide a better balance of lifetime pension benefits relative to members age at retirement and provide stronger protection against risks that all members face in retirement. They will help to preserve the value of the plan for all members and are considered to be a necessary step towards greater sustainability. What is a Defined Benefit Plan? The UAPP is a defined benefit plan. This means that it provides a guaranteed pension that is based on a member s earnings and years of service. Actuarial valuations are conducted regularly to determine whether the fund will be able to pay for accruing benefits from the contributions and investment returns growing in the fund. The pension plan pools member and employer contributions over members working lives to create a fund from which to pay pension benefits to members for their lifetime in retirement. It also provides pensions for surviving spouses. The Universities Academic Pension Plan 1

4 Summary of Current Plan and Proposed Changes Current Plan Proposed Plan (for service after 2014) Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) Pensions in payment to retirees currently receive a guaranteed annual cost of living increase of 60% of the change in the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI). Early Retirement Reduced Pension Members who are at least age 55 can retire. Their lifetime pension will be reduced by 3% for each year that their actual retirement date precedes the date at which they reach age 60 or achieve the 80 factor (age + service equals 80), if earlier. Unreduced Pension Members can retire and receive a pension that is not reduced as long as they have reached age 60 or achieved the 80 factor. Bridge Pension A bridge pension is paid from retirement until age 65. This additional pension was designed to top up pensions by an amount similar to the Canada Pension Plan benefit that a member would receive at age 65. Maximum Pensionable Salary The Income Tax Act (ITA) limits the amount of salary that can be used to determine pensions. UAPP pensions are based on the average of the highest five years of salary. Each of the five years is limited to the ITA maximum for the year the salary was earned. Compulsory Pension Age Plan members must start taking their pension on December 31 of the year in which they turn age 69, even if they continue working. Elimination of 35 Year Service Cap Members cannot accrue more than 35 years of pensionable service, even if they continue working. Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) The portion of pensions earned for service after 2014 will receive a guaranteed annual cost of living increase of 75% of the change in the Alberta CPI. Early Retirement Reduced Pension Members can retire as early as age 55 with a reduced pension. For pensions earned after 2014, there will be a greater percentage reduction for each year that their retirement date precedes their 65th birth date. (Reduction factors are shown in Table 1 on Page 6.) Unreduced Pension Members can retire with a pension that is not reduced when they reach age 65. The 80 factor no longer plays a role in the determination of pension benefits earned for service after Members who achieve the 80 factor after 2014 will receive 80 factor benefits (i.e. an unreduced pension) for the portion of their pension earned for service before Bridge Pension The bridge pension will be eliminated for the portion of the pension earned after Maximum Pensionable Salary For service after 2014, the ITA maximum earnings for the final year of the five year highest average salary period will be applied to all five years of earnings used in the average calculation. Compulsory Pension Age The date at which plan members must start taking a pension will change to December 31 of the year in which they turn age 71, even if they continue working. Elimination of 35 Year Service Cap The 35 year cap on pensionable years of service is eliminated. 2 The Universities Academic Pension Plan

5 How the Current Plan Works... for pensions earned after 1993 Lifetime Pension The pension is based on a member s salary (the average of the five highest years of earnings) and pensionable service (number of years in which they make contributions to the plan), up to a maximum pensionable salary, which is set by the Income Tax Act and is $150,164 in The basic pension formula is: 1.4% x earnings 2% x capped earnings pension earned + = up to the YMPE* above the YMPE* for each year of service * The YMPE is the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings allowed for the purposes of the Canada Pension Plan and is $51,100 in For example, suppose Kim was hired at age 40 and retires at age 65 with: 25 years of service $120,000 highest average earnings $50,000 average YMPE Kim s pension is calculated as: 1.4% x $50, % x ($120,000 $50,000) = $2,100 for each year of service Kim s annual pension is equal to $2,100 per year x 25 years of service = $52,500 per year at 65 Reduced Pension for Early Retirement Members who are at least age 55 can retire. Their lifetime pension will be reduced by 3% for each year that their actual retirement date precedes the date at which they reach age 60 or achieve the 80 factor (age + service equals 80), if earlier. For example, if Kim retired at age 55 with 15 years of service, her total pension would be reduced by 15% (3% per year x 5 years) to reflect a retirement date that is five years before age 60. Unreduced Pension Members can retire and receive a pension that is not reduced as long as they have reached age 60 or achieved the 80 factor, if earlier. Bridge Pension Members who retire before age 65 currently receive a bridge pension that is paid from retirement until age 65. The bridge was designed to top up pensions by an amount similar to the Canada Pension Plan benefit that a member would receive at age 65. The bridge is equal to 0.6% of earnings up to the YMPE. It stops at age 65 when Government benefits are expected to start. For example, if Kim was hired at age 35 and retires at age 60 with 25 years of service, her earned pension of $2,100 per year of service will be topped up by a bridge pension of $7,500 per year ($50,000 x.6% x 25 years) that is paid until age 65. If a member receives a reduced pension, the bridge is reduced by the same percentage as the pension. All of the examples in this booklet have been a simplified for illustration purposes only. For more details, see the UAPP Member Handbook at The Universities Academic Pension Plan 3

6 How the Current Plan Works continued Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) Pensions paid to UAPP retirees are eligible for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) each year that is tied to the Alberta Consumer Price Index (CPI). Changes in the CPI measure changes in the price of consumer goods and services and are used as a measure of inflation. Retiree pensions currently receive a guaranteed cost of living increase each year that is equal to 60% of the annual change in the Alberta CPI. The graph below shows the historical rates of inflation in Canada over the past 40 years. GRAPH 1: Consumer Price Index Historical Summary, Statistics Canada 14 Percentage increase in CPI Year Purchasing Power Impact The table below provides estimates of the impact on purchasing power at different inflation assumptions. After 15 years, a $52,500 annual pension payment would have a purchasing power of: Purchasing power of the pension after 15 years Pension No indexing 60% of CPI 2% inflation $52,500 $39,008 $46,586 3% inflation $52,500 $33,698 $43,899 4% inflation $52,500 $29,151 $41,376 4 The Universities Academic Pension Plan

7 Proposed Plan Changes... for pensions earned after 2014 Rebalancing the benefits Under the current Plan, there is no reduction for early retirement as long as, at the time of retirement, a member is at least age 55 and satisfies the 80 factor. This means that the pension amounts paid from the plan to two members with the same years of service, earnings and contributions to the plan can vary widely, depending on the age at which they are hired and choose to retire. For example, let s look at three members, Kim, Jordan and Taylor, all of whom retire after 25 years of service, contribute the same amounts to the UAPP during their careers and have: $120,000 highest average earnings and $50,000 average YMPE $2,100 pension earned for each year of service Kim retires at age 65, Jordan at age 60 and Taylor at age 55. They will all have an annual pension of $52,500 at age 65 ($2,100 x 25 years). Since Jordan and Taylor retire before age 65, they will both receive an additional bridge pension of $7,500 per year ($50,000 x.6% x 25 years) until they reach age 65. Total pension payments collected by age 80 (current plan) Kim retires at 65 Jordan retires at 60 Taylor retires at 55 $52,500 at age 65 for life $52,500 at age 65 for life $52,500 at age 65 for life $60,000 per year from 60 to 64 $60,000 per year from 55 to 64 $787,500* $1,087,500* $1,387,500* * do not account for inflation or include cost of living increases. In this example, Taylor retires at age 55 and receives 76% ($600,000) more than Kim and Jordan retires at age 60 and receives 38% ($300,000) more than Kim, even though all three members have the same number of years of service, the same earnings, and have made the same contributions to the plan. The extra amounts paid to members who retire before age 65 are subsidies provided by the plan, and therefore funded by member and employer contributions. This current subsidy results in a significantly higher cost to the plan and pension value for about one third of members who retire before age 60. The proposed changes do not eliminate the subsidies. They re-balance the plan resources by reducing a portion of the subsidies for members who retire early and increasing the inflation protection for retiree pensions for all members. This provides enhanced security for all members and for the long term health of the plan. The Universities Academic Pension Plan 5

8 Proposed Plan Changes continued Early Retirement Current Plan Members who are at least age 55 can retire. Their lifetime pension will be reduced by 3% for each year that their actual retirement date precedes the date at which they reach age 60 or achieve the 80 factor (age + service equals 80). Members can retire and receive a pension that is not reduced as long as they have reached age 60 or achieved the 80 factor. Members who retire before age 65 receive an additional bridge pension from the plan paid from the early retirement date until age 65. Proposed Change The portion of member pensions earned for service before 2015 will continue to be based on the current plan for all plan members. The portion of member pensions earned for service after 2014 will be reduced if a member retires before age 65. The 80 factor does not play a role in determining pensions for service after The bridge pension will be eliminated for service earned after The bridge pension will continue to be paid on pensions for service earned before Table 1 below shows the per year reduction for the portion of benefits earned for service after It also shows the actual reduction that would be required if the plan did not provide a subsidy for early retirement. This represents the actual cost to the plan for the early retirement because the pension is paid for a longer period of time and funds do not remain in the plan to accumulate investment returns. A graduated reduction of 1% at age 64, 2% at age 63 and 3% at age 62 is designed to recognize that, although the decision when to retire early is usually a choice, as members get closer to age 65, health issues and other factors may make it less of a choice. Table 1: Early Retirement Reduction Factors Retirement age Proposed per cent reduction for the year after attaining this retirement age Total reduction at each retirement age for service after 2014 Actual reduction at this retirement age that would be required if there were no subsidy for early retirement 64 1% 1% 6% 63 2% 3% 12% 62 3% 6% 18% 61 4% 10% 23% 60 4% 14% 28% 59 4% 18% 32% 58 4% 22% 36% 57 4% 26% 40% 56 4% 30% 44% 55 4% 34% 47% The reduction percentage is prorated for the exact number of days in the year (for example, if you retire at age 64.5, the reduction will be 0.5% instead of 1%) for the portion of the pension earned for post 2014 service. Impact This change will increase reduction percentages for the portion of the pension benefit earned for service after See the Examining the Impacts section on page 10 for pension calculation examples and comparisons that illustrate the impacts. 6 The Universities Academic Pension Plan

9 Proposed Plan Changes continued Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) As people collect their pensions for longer periods of time, it becomes increasingly important to protect purchasing power. A 3% increase in the CPI each year will reduce the purchasing power of a pension that does not receive cost of living increases by 50% in less than 25 years. A 4% increase each year can reduce it by 50% in less than 18 years. Current Plan Retiree pensions currently receive a guaranteed annual cost of living increase of 60% of the change in the Alberta CPI. Proposed Plan The portion of retiree pensions that are earned for service after 2014 will receive a guaranteed annual cost of living increase of 75% of the change in the Alberta CPI. Since the increased rate will apply only to the portion of the pension earned for service after 2014, this change will be phased in slowly over a period of time just as reductions to overall early retirement benefits will be phased in over the same period. Impact The table below provides estimates of increased pension payments based on different inflation assumptions. After 15 years of pension payments, a $52,500 pension payment would have received annual cost of living increases that would result in pension payments of: Estimated pension payment values after 15 years of indexing at various rates of inflation no indexing 60% of CPI 75% of CPI 2% inflation $52,500 $62,787 $65,637 3% inflation $52,500 $68,608 $73,301 4% inflation $52,500 $74,931 $81,793 This change represents a rebalancing of plan benefits. Some of the savings from the early retirement benefit reduction are used to enhance COLA, which provides long term inflation protection for all members and a more equitable way to share risks that are outside the control of plan members. The Universities Academic Pension Plan 7

10 Proposed Plan Changes continued Maximum Pensionable Salary The federal Income Tax Act (ITA) limits the highest average earnings that can be used to calculate pension benefits. This maximum earnings amount increases each year. In 2013 it is $150,164. The Current Plan Pension benefits from the UAPP are based on the average of the highest five years of salary. When the highest five-year average amount is calculated, each of the five years used in the average calculation is limited to the ITA maximum for the year the salary was earned. Proposed Change For service after 2014, the ITA maximum earnings for the final year of the five highest years of salary will be the maximum that is applied to all five years of earnings used in the average calculation. This change will result in an increase in the highest average earnings for members with earnings in their highest five years that are above the ITA limits. For example, Actual earnings Current maximum Proposed maximum Year 1 155, , , Year 2 160, , , Year 3 165, , , Year 4 170, , , Year 5 175, , , year average 165, , , Impact This change will increase the maximum earnings calculation to the highest level allowed by the ITA for the calculation of the portion of pension benefits earned after This is the level that the ITA requires for pension adjustments calculations and will allow members to access a slightly larger portion of their capped earnings for post 2014 pensions. The ITA also has a defined benefit pension limit for each year of pensionable service that will be applied to the resulting pension to ensure compliance with ITA maximum pension legislation. If the defined benefit limits have future increases that are more than the increase in the Average Industrial Wage plus three percent in any year, any such increases will be phased in over a fiveyear period. This will protect the plan from significant unexpected increases to the limits due to a change in government policy. 8 The Universities Academic Pension Plan

11 Proposed Plan Changes continued Compulsory Pension Age Current Plan Active plan members must start receiving a pension from the Plan on December 31 of the year in which they turn age 69, even if they continue working. Members can no longer accrue service or make contributions to the plan after they begin to receive a pension. Proposed Plan The age after which a plan member must start taking a pension will be increased from age 69 to age 71. With this change, plan members will be required to start receiving a pension on December 31 of the year in which they turn age 71. Impact This change will increase the pensions of members who remain in the plan after age 69 by increasing the number of years of service used in their pension calculation. Members who are age 69 before January 1, 2015 must start taking their pension on December 31 in the year in which they turn age 69. Members who turn 69 after 2014 must start taking their pension on December 31 in the year in which they turn age 71. This change was made to align the plan with an ITA change that increased the latest age at which a pension must start from 69 to 71. Elimination of the 35 Year Service Cap Current Plan Members cannot accrue more than 35 years of pensionable service under the current plan. When a member has 35 years of service, the member and employer contributions to the plan cease. The pension benefit calculation is based on actual highest average earnings at retirement, but is limited to 35 years of service. Proposed Plan There will no longer be a maximum number of years of pensionable service. Members will continue to accrue years of service until they retire, or until December 30 of the year in which they turn age 71. Impact This change will increase the pensions of members who work for more than 35 years by increasing the years of service used in their pension calculation. Members who reach 35 years of service after 2014 will not be subject to the 35 year service cap. Members who have 35 years of service before January 1, 2015 will have an opportunity to decide whether to remain subject to the 35 year cap or to continue to accrue pensionable service. This change was made to align with an ITA change that eliminated the maximum 35 years of pensionable service. The Universities Academic Pension Plan 9

12 Examining the Impacts... for pensions earned after December 31, 2014 Impact on current member pensions during the transition period (before COLA) If all three of the members in our examples retired on January 1, 2020 with 25 years of service, only five years of their service would be affected by the early retirement changes. They all would have 20 (20/25) years of service under the current plan and 5 years (5/25) under the new plan. Kim was hired at age 40 and retires at age 65 on January 1, Since retirement is at age 65, there is no change to the starting pension. Pension ($2,100 per year x 25 years) $52,500 per year at 65 (pension remains the same before and after the change in the plan) Jordan was hired at age 35 and retires at age 60 on January 1, Pre-2015 pension at age 60 ($52,500 x 20/25) $42,000 per year Post-2014 pension at age 60 ($52,500 x 5/25, less 14%) $ 9,030 per year Pre-2015 bridge from age 60 to 64 ($7,500 x 20/25) $ 6,000 per year $57,030 per year, age 60 to 64 $51,030 per year at age 65 (current plan provides $60,000 per year from 60 to 64, $52,500 per year at 65) Taylor was hired at age 30 and retires at age 55 on January 1, Pre-2015 pension at age 55 ($52,500 x 20/25) $42,000 per year Post-2014 pension at age 55 ($52,500 x 5/25, less 34%) $ 6,930 per year Pre-2015 bridge from age 55 to 64 ($7,500 x 20/25) $ 6,000 per year $54,930 per year, age 55 to 64 $48,930 per year at age 65 (current plan provides $60,000 per year from 55 to 64, $52,500 at 65) Total pension payments collected by age 80 (with 20 years of service under the current plan and 5 years under the proposed plan) Kim retires at 65 Jordan retires at 60 Taylor retires at 55 $52,500 at age 65 for life $51,030 at age 65 for life $48,930 at age 65 for life $57,030 per year from 60 to 64 $54,930 per year from 55 to 64 $787,500* $1,050,600* $1,283,250* * do not account for inflation or include cost of living increases. 10 The Universities Academic Pension Plan

13 Examining the Impacts continued Impact on pensions for members hired after December 31, 2014 (before COLA) If Kim, Jordan and Taylor were all hired on January 1, 2015 and retire in the year 2040 after 25 years of service, their pension amounts would be calculated as follows: Kim was hired at age 40 and retires at age 65. Pension at age 65 ($2,100 per year x 25 years) $52,500 per year at age 65 Jordan was hired at age 35 and retires at age 60. Pension at age 60 ($2,100 per year x 25 years) $ 52,500 per year (reduced by 14%) ($ 7,350) per year $45,150 per year at age 60 Taylor was hired at age 30 and retires at age 55. Pension at age 55 ($2,100 per year x 25 years) $ 52,500 per year (reduced by 34%) ($17,850) per year $34,650 per year at age 55 TOTAL PENSION PAYMENTS COLLECTED BY AGE 80 (proposed plan) Kim retires at 65 Jordan retires at 60 Taylor retires at 55 $52,500 at age 65 for life $45,150 at age 65 for life $34,650 at age 65 for life $787,500* $903,000* $866,250* * do not account for inflation or include cost of living increases. In this example, the early retirement subsidy still exists, but it has been reduced. Before considering improved cost of living increases, Taylor s total payments at age 80 are 10% higher than Kim s payments (rather than 76% higher in the current plan). Jordan s total payments at age 80 are 15% higher than Kim s payments (rather than 38% higher in the current plan). Jordan and Taylor will benefit from a longer period of inflation protection on a higher total value than Kim, so will receive greater value from the improved COLA. The Universities Academic Pension Plan 11

14 Examining the Impacts continued Impact of COLA The tables below show inflation-based pension payment increases for a $52,500 pension after 15 years of pension payments at three different rates of inflation. Members who retire on January 1, 2020 with 20 years of service under the current plan and 5 years under the proposed plan will receive 60% COLA on the 20 years under the current plan and 75% COLA on the 5 years under the proposed plan. Estimated pension payment values after 15 years of indexing at various rates of inflation Current plan portion 20/25ths of 60% of CPI Proposed plan portion 5/25ths of 75% CPI Annual pension after 15 years 2% inflation $62,787 x 20/25 $65,637 x 5/25 $63,357 3% inflation $68,608 x 20/25 $73,300 x 5/25 $69,546 4% inflation $74,931 x 20/25 $81,793 x 5/25 $76,303 Members hired after December 31, 2014 will receive COLA at 75% of CPI for all their years of pensionable service. Estimated pension payment values after 15 years of indexing at various rates of inflation No indexing 60% of CPI 75% of CPI 2% inflation $52,500 $62,787 $65,637 3% inflation $52,500 $68,608 $73,300 4% inflation $52,500 $74,931 $81,793 For all members hired after 2014, the increase from 60% of CPI to 75% of CPI provides a 4.5% improvement at 2% inflation and a 6.8% improvement at 3% inflation over a period of 15 years. 12 The Universities Academic Pension Plan

15 Appendix: Sponsors Proposed Changes to the UAPP December 11, Retirement Age (i) Unreduced retirement age 65. Prior to age 65, cumulative percentage reduction in benefits for each year of retirement prior to member reaching age 65. Benefit reductions prior to each birth date to be pro-rated in a way consistent with the Plan s current administrative practice. retirement at age 64, 1% retirement at age 59, 18% retirement at age 63, 3% retirement at age 58, 22% retirement at age 62, 6% retirement at age 57, 26% retirement at age 61, 10% retirement at age 56, 30% retirement at age 60, 14% retirement at age 55, 34% (ii) Elimination of 80 factor benefits. 2. Elimination of Bridge Benefit The bridge benefit that is currently paid to age 65 to members who retire before age 65 will be eliminated. 3. Compulsory Pension Age to go up to Age 71 The calendar year at the end of which a pension must be paid will move from the year in which a member reaches age 69 to the year in which the member reaches age Elimination of the Current 35-year Cap on Pensionable Service The current 35-year cap on pensionable service will be eliminated. Members and their employers will continue to contribute towards pensionable service as long as the member s service remains pensionable. 5. Increase the Maximum Pensionable Salary to the Income Tax Ceiling Raise the ceiling on 5-year highest salary average to the maximum allowed under the Income Tax Act, provided that the proposed benefits are not greater than the income tax ceiling (i.e., the ceiling for the 5 highest years average under the UAPP will increase to the ceiling under the Income Tax Act applicable to the year in which the member retires instead of the average of the 5-years Income Tax Act ceilings). Brake Policy on Defined Benefit Limits (September 18, 2012 Sponsor Proposal): Should the federal government increase Defined Benefit Limits under the Income Tax Act by more than the Average Industrial Wage plus 3 percent in any year after the transition date, the trustees shall phase in such increases in equal percentage amounts over a five-year period in order to protect the interests of the plan and its members. 6. Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) for Pensioners The basic indexing formula will be increased from 60% to 75% of Alberta CPI. However, a higher COLA may be paid based on the availability of funds and in accordance with a funding policy to be developed by the Sponsors. APPLICATION OF THE CHANGES Any changes will be applied prospectively. These changes will apply to all members (new and existing) with respect to service from the effective date onwards, but will not apply to service prior to the effective date. The Universities Academic Pension Plan 13

16 UAPP Proposed Plan Changes For pensions earned after December 31, Printed March 2013

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