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Posted by Jimmy Carbonneau, Group insurance and group annuity plans advisor, April 14 2016
Group Retirement Savings Plan
Pension Plan: why do you need a broker?


The group annuity broker is much more than a mere intermediary. In fact, it plays a crucial role in enabling businesses to implement a retirement savings plan suited to their needs and those of their employees. Businesses dealing with a broker can often realize substantial savings, on top of receiving expertise that will prove essential for employers.

The right type of pension plan

Should you implement a Group RRSP, a DPSP, a SPP, a VRSP, etc.? This is a major decision, especially since many businesses will be required to take action by December 31, 2016 under the new VRSP legislation. It is better to consider right now what type of plan you want, instead of jumping head first into the VRSP and regretting it later on.

The role of the broker will be to identify your needs and advise you on the right plan(s) for you and your employees. Several specific features can tilt the scale in favour of one type of plan. It is better to get off to a good start by consulting a broker at the onset of the process in order to benefit from its expertise.

A financial institution suited to your needs

Once the type of plan has been selected, which financial institution should you turn to? They all have their strengths and weaknesses. The broker is familiar with the products offered by the various financial institutions and will give your business sound advice based on what is most important for you, i.e.:

  • services provided;
  • mutual fund offering and performance;
  • user-friendly website and tools;
  • etc.

Implementation of the plan

Once the financial institution has been selected, the broker will open the appropriate accounts and will coordinate the administrative procedures with the insurer and the employer. In order to maximize employee enrollment in the plan, meetings are generally organized by the broker and the insurer in order to introduce the plan to employees and answer their questions. The enrollment process will be described along with the available investment options.

And plan governance…

The broker’s work should not stop with the implementation of the plan. The broker must support the employer with plan governance, i.e. with the roles and responsibilities of pension plan administrators in meeting their obligations.

Several businesses set up generous pension plans for their employees. However, once the plan is in place, the follow-up is often non-existent. It is crucial to keep a watchful eye on the plan, or it will become less competitive over the years and no longer meet the needs identified when it was set up. This could lead to employee dissatisfaction and, more rarely, to litigation. Employees expect to benefit from a competitive and up-to-date pension plan.

A regular governance report prepared by the broker enables the employer to see where the plan stands and compare it with the market. This report presents the broker’s comments along with recommendations to improve and update the plan and optimize employee satisfaction.

An expert for you and your employees!

In any situation, the role of the broker is to advise employers, help them find the best possible solutions to their needs and answer their questions.

The broker is also there to explain the pension plan to employees through regular meetings. As an expert, the broker will be able to answer questions from employees and help them get the most from their plan.

Whether you wish to implement a retirement savings program for the first time or to review your current offering, contact us today to discuss the many benefits of having an expert on your side. Get the winning combination!


Jimmy brings overs 20 years of experience in pension plans. After starting his pension career at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, he worked as DC Consultant for a large actuarial firm and two insurance companies before joining AGA. With his extensive pension experience, he has developed an acute expertise in the selection, the design and the implementation of pension plans. Jimmy provides his clients with both expertise and insight on their employee benefits.
Jimmy Carbonneau, Group insurance and group annuity plans advisor