ELCIC Group Services Inc. (GSI) members John Wolff, (CMA) and Executive Director Hildy Thiessen, (CA), jointly delivered what appears to be a more upbeat picture of the latest Canada-wide pension situation for the church. The issue of "unfunded liability" continues to be of concern, but, as Wolff remarked, "slow progress" has been achieved in reducing the liability since the last national convention in 2003.
As well, Wolff stated that GSI now provides expanded services in offering at "no cost or obligation" to personalized retirement planning.
He noted that education sessions have already been held in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. The GSI Board was also kept busy with activities related to the transfer of all financial responsibilities of Augustana University College (Camrose) to the University of Alberta.
With new efficiencies in place, early plans, according to Wolff and Thiessen, look good for the future of the group pension planning for the church, as long as controls and sound investing remain.
Concerns were expressed about investments, with comments made from the floor regarding sociallyresponsible investing of the church's pension funds. Wolff responded that a decision had actually been made within the last year to "divest of investments in two tobacco companies."
Page revised August 16, 2005.