Canadians Prefer Pooled Pension Plans over Higher Contributions

National Workplace Savings Survey shows 4 in 5 without a workplace savings plan worry about retirement lifestyle.

Toronto, ON (Dec. 13, 2012) – In a survey of Canadians from across the country, Manulife Financial found that respondents were twice as likely to support a Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) (64 per cent), rather than increase their CPP or QPP contributions (34 per cent) as a means to save more for retirement.

“Canadians strongly support the introduction of PRPPs and are looking to their provincial governments and employers to make it happen,” said Sue Reibel, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Group Retirement Solutions, at Manulife Financial.

Across the country, 74 per cent of respondents said it’s ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for their province to introduce legislation to make PRPPs available. That figure climbs as high as 85 per cent in Quebec and 84 per cent in Newfoundland.

The National Workplace Savings Survey asked more than 7,700 employed Canadians about their attitudes and convictions towards retirement planning and savings and their attitudes towards enrolling in a PRPP.

PRPPs are workplace savings plans for employees of small to medium-sized businesses or the self-employed with contributions conveniently deducted from each pay. Contributions are invested in a larger pool of funds, which can result in lower fees than if an individual invested on her or his own. Employees are automatically enrolled but can opt-out and have the flexibility to increase or reduce contributions.

Only 10 per cent of Canadians employed at workplaces with less than 100 employees have access to a pension plan. The federal government introduced PRPP’s to help address this gap and in turn the gap between the savings rates of Canadians and their expected retirement needs.

  • Of those surveyed, 69 per cent are worried that they won’t have enough savings to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement. That figure increases to 78 per cent for those that don’t currently have a workplace retirement plan.
  • The absence of a workplace retirement plan would discourage 69 per cent of employees from switching jobs to that employer.
  • Seventy-seven per cent believe saving through a PRPP would make it easier for them to reach their retirement goals.

“These survey findings reinforce the concerns Canadians have about the retirement savings gap and their belief that PRPPs can play an important part in bridging that gap,” said Ms. Reibel. “They underscore the importance of the work that the federal and provincial governments started in 2010 when they introduced PRPPs.”

Graphs depicting the number of Canadians worried about retirement and the number of Canadians believing it is important their own provinces introduce PRPPs are available here (PDF).

About the Manulife Financial 2012 National Workplace Savings Survey

From October 23 to November 7, 2012, an online survey was conducted by Vision Critical among 7,759 randomly selected employed Canadian adults who are also Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 1.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and region census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. In 2012, we celebrate 125 years of providing clients strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30, 2012. The Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the United States.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at

PDF available — click here.

SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation