Projected deficit for retirement cash

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By Alexandra Macaulay Abdelwahab

Members of Ryerson’s Retirement Pension Plan can rest assured their savings are safe. At least for now.

Ryerson’s retirement fund is at a 6 per cent surplus, which is higher than many other universities in the current economic market, according to a presentation at the Sept. 10 Board of Governors meeting.

However, Ryerson’s pension could be heading for a deficit in 2011. Between 2007 and 2008 the value of Ryerson’s assets dropped 15.9 per cent.

Last year’s massive drop is expected to affect the plan, said Jan Neiman, manager, pension and benefits. Ryerson averages the value of their pension plan over five years so that it isn’t affected by small fluctuations in the stock market.

While President Sheldon Levy believes the school’s pension plan is in a reasonably good position, he continues to keep an eye on Bay Street.

“We’re OK now, but the question is always ‘What will happen to the market?'”

If Ryerson were to enter a deficit several things could be done, said Larissa Allen, executive director of human resources. Members could be forced to make increased contributions to cover the deficit. Pension benefits could also be limited.

Most likely Ryerson would have to pay, “which takes away from the operating budget,” said Allen.

Three schools this year, Laurier, McMaster and Trent, had to dip into their operating budget to cover their pension plans.

Dave Mason, president of Ryerson’s Faculty Association is not too worried about the value of his Pension Plan.

“I presume in the longer term it will be stable, so I’m not too concerned about it,” he said.

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