Annual Report

At CSS, it’s always been our prerogative to keep your - our 50,000+ members and over 300 employers - best interests at the forefront of everything that we do. Despite the global pandemic that challenged businesses across the world, we were able to weather the storm and keep your pension plan running smoothly. It is in times like these that the depth of commitment our team has to our members and other stakeholders of the Plan really shines through. It is inspiring and at the core of why CSS truly is built to last.

Investment Highlights

The Plan's investments, and in particular its equity investments, have materially underperformed its benchmarks over the last three years.

Although diversified across various investment approaches and styles, the Plan is purposefully biased toward those styles which are willing to sacrifice some returns in up markets to provide more protection in down markets. This bias leads us towards equities which exhibit value, quality, smaller size and lower volatility characteristics, which academic and empirical market research continually demonstrate outperform relative to alternative portfolio choices over the long term. As we noted earlier, these are not the styles that the market rewarded in 2021 or the two years prior.

We do not know what the future will hold, but we do believe it is prudent to maintain our investment discipline. This discipline helps us look past short-term volatility and market anomalies to focus on optimizing the long-term financial outcomes of our members.

Membership Highlights

Over our 81-year history, we’ve grown to serve a diverse membership of over 313 co-operative and credit union employers and over 50,000 members across Canada, including more than 8,000 retirees who draw a retirement income from CSS.

Throughout 2020, we continued to add value for members despite it being a challenging year amid the Covid pandemic. The strong foundations of CSS - built collectively with co-operative and credit union employers and members over the years - enabled us to withstand uncertainty and continue to keep our members’ best interests at the forefront.

Member Service Activities

There were 14 RIO workshops scheduled for 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the workshops were cancelled. Consequently, an online version of the workshop was developed and is available on the Plan’s website.

The pandemic did not seem to negatively affect members’ interest seeking out retirement income estimates. During 2020 approximately 2,155 personalized sets of Pension Projections and 4,934 Variable Benefit (VB) illustrations were prepared for and on behalf of employee members of the Plan. These figures are up considerably from 2019.

Visits to the website also increased significantly in 2020 with a total of 635,200 visits. The Plan continued to improve the site throughout the year, adding new features and functionality to the myCSSPEN member portal, including the ability for members to change their investment allocations online.

Financial Highlights

Investment Fund Assets$4.28B
Pension Fund Assets$768M