CANADA - The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a ruling that would have forced plan administrators to disclose proposed changes to their pension plans to members.
The Ontario Pension Benefits Act already required advance disclosure of the terms of adverse amendments. The new ruling means that, although administrators are required to disclose highly relevant information to members, they are not required to disclose amendments that are still under consideration and not yet final.
The original case arose after eight members took the C$39bn Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) to court over an alleged breach of its fiduciary duty.
The eight members had resigned in 1998, selecting to receive a lump sum commuted value payment. Shortly afterwards, OMERS announced certain benefits improvements, leading the members to accuse the system of failing to inform them that benefit improvements were being discussed before they resigned.
The OMERS board claimed the obligation to inform members of plan improvements arose only when a final decision had been made, but the court ruled OMERS had a duty to inform members of potential plan changes so that members could make informed financial decisions.
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