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May 9, 2022

IMPLEMENTING COST CONTROLS CAN BE CHALLENGING

Cost-control programs under benefit plans are becoming more common as employers and benefits providers grapple with rising drug costs and premiums. However, implementing cost-control programs in unionized workplaces may prove challenging depending on the language in the collective agreement, says a Fasken ‘HR Space’. A recent British Columbia labour arbitration decision provides insight regarding permissible benefits cost-control measures in a unionized workplace, it says. In this case, the employer opted into a cost-control program which removed drugs with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) previously automatically covered until the benefits provider had completed a cost-effectiveness review of the drug. The goal of the program was cost containment of drugs benefits. The union grieved, alleging the cost-control program violated the collective agreement because it would effectively result in a reduction or limitation to the benefits currently available to bargaining unit members and the union had not been consulted regarding the change. The arbitrator found this would effectively constitute a reduction in the level of drug coverage and represented a substantial change to the level of coverage under the plan. This means prior to implementing any benefits-related cost-control programs, employers are advised to carefully review the collective agreement and existing benefits policy to determine if the changes could violate it.

May 9, 2022

CHINA OUTLINES PILLAR 3

China has outlined a framework for the country’s fledgling private pension third pillar. The program, outlined by China’s State Council on April 21, promises to throw open the doors to competition in managing Chinese retirement assets, with Pillar 3 savers slated to be able to invest in mutual funds and wealth management products. Despite four years of government- backed pilot programs, retirement assets in Pillar 3-designated products ‒ mostly fund-of-funds vehicles ‒ have not managed to climb to one per cent of the country’s total retirement savings pool. The Pillar 1 national and provincial pension pools and Pillar 2 corporate supplementary plans remain closed to all but a small circle of domestic financial groups.

May 9, 2022

UTAM CONNECTS PURPOSE TO GOALS

Under the theme “Investing in Tomorrow,” UTAM’s ‘2021 Annual Report’ to stakeholders connects its long-term investment record to its broader purpose: helping one of the world’s leading universities achieve its goals. The performance of the endowment, pension, and short-term working capital investments managed on