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(Toronto, February 28, 2011) - Today, OMERS announced its net assets rose to $53.3 billion as of December 31, 2010, up from $47.8 billion the year before. The total rate of return in 2010 was 12.01 per cent, compared to 10.6 per cent in 2009. The Plan's growth in net assets for 2009 and 2010 combined was $9.9 billion.
"OMERS achieved excellent investment results in 2010, supporting our mission of creating surplus wealth for plan members and sponsors," said John Sabo, Chair of the OMERS Administration Corporation Board of Directors. "Our performance, which stems from our asset mix shift to world-class private market investments, and strong market investment returns driven by the recovery of the global financial markets, reflects our focus on risk-adjusted returns, which is designed to manage volatility and respond to our long-term liability profile." In the seven years since OMERS adopted a policy shifting its asset mix more heavily into private market investments, the Plan has earned an annualized return of 8.11% which includes the investment return of -15.3% in 2008.
Like many other pension plans, OMERS continues to face a funding shortfall caused by the 2008 global economic downturn. The Plan's 2010 funding deficit was $4.5 billion, versus $1.5 billion a year earlier. These amounts are included in OMERS financial statements, which will be available later in the first quarter of 2011. Actuarial assumptions indicate OMERS requires an investment return of 6.5% annually to keep assets and liabilities in balance. That rate of return, combined with temporary contribution increases and benefit reductions, will see the Plan return to surplus in 2025. "Based on our asset mix policy and active investment strategy, we believe we can generate average returns of 7% to 11% annually over the next five years. Doing so would return the Plan to surplus between 2015 and 2020 - five to 10 years ahead of schedule," said Patrick Crowley, OMERS Chief Financial Officer.
OMERS also continues to advance programs requested by various stakeholders and codified in the OMERS Act 2006 and the Plan text. The first of these programs, Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs), allows members to invest their registered retirement savings in the OMERS Fund, effective January 1, 2011. Other specific capital-raising programs will be launched in 2011.
OMERS was named 2010 and 2011 Global Pension Fund of the Year, Canada, by World Finance magazine. This award is based on excellence in member service, innovation, risk management and investment performance. OMERS was also named one of the country's best employers for the third year in a row, ranking 13th on Aon Hewitt's 2011 list of the 50 Best Employers in Canada.
For a more detailed breakdown of OMERS financial results, see the attached fact sheet.
A Spring Information Meeting for OMERS members and stakeholders will be held in mid-April, 2011 and will be available through audio web-cast.
OMERS is one of Canada's largest pension funds with over $53 billion in net assets. We provide first-class pension administration and innovative products and services to over 400,000 members. Approximately one in every 20 employees working in the province of Ontario is an OMERS member. Through the OMERS Worldwide brand, our team of investment professionals uses a direct drive, active management investment strategy to invest in public and private market assets, including publicly-traded equities, fixed-income, infrastructure, private equity and real estate. For more information, please visit www.omers.com, or www.omersworldwide.com
To set up a one-on-one interview on Feb 28:
OMERS Administration Corporation
Ph: (416) 350-6797