posted on Oct. 20: McMaster Pension Surplus


The Board of Governors of McMaster University has endorsed a proposal that furthers a process to unlock surplus in the McMaster University Pension Plan for Salaried Employees (the “Plan”). The proposal is supported by all representatives of stakeholders in the Plan including the McMaster University Staff Association (MUSA), the McMaster University Faculty Association (MUFA), the McMaster Clinical Faculty Association, the McMaster Retirees Association (MURA) and The Management Group (TMG) of the University.

The proposal must still go through a number of stages including satisfying legal requirements before there can be any distribution from the Plan. It is anticipated that this process would take at least eighteen months. If successful, the proposal calls for:

7 A withdrawal of $150 million from the plan:
7 $75 million would be returned to plan members, including pensioners.
7 $75 million would be returned to the University to fund other initiatives.

The proposal would leave a surplus in the Plan, currently estimated at over $160 million, which should be more than sufficient to meet the ongoing future obligations of the Plan and protect against potential negative investment returns. In addition, the proposal will not affect anyone's pension or other University employee benefits. All pension plan obligations will continue to be paid as before as part of a well-funded pension plan.

“I am pleased that the Board of Governors has indicated its support for this process to continue,” said Dr. Peter George, President and Vice Chancellor of McMaster. “If we are successful, the University would have access to $75 million that should assist us in addressing a variety of items key to our mission such as enhancement of the University's endowment which supports such things as scholarships for students, investment in the capital needs of the University, and support for the research mission of the University. All universities are underfunded at the present time and this is one source of funding that would be extremely welcome. The accumulation of a significant pension plan surplus is not unique within the university environment and I fully expect other organizations to watch our situation with special interest.”