Searches and Hires

Ontario Financial Services Commission taps Morneau Shepell to take over administration of Sears Canada plan

Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services Brian Mills hired pension benefit consultant Morneau Shepell to assume administration of the Sears Canada Inc. Registered Retirement Plan, Toronto.

The hiring, announced by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario on Tuesday, follows the liquidation of Sears Canada approved by Ontario Superior Court on Oct. 13, the superintendent's office said in a news release.

Because of the liquidation, FSCO said in the release, "the superintendent has determined it is inevitable that the Sears plan will need to be wound up, although the effective date and details of the windup are still to be determined."

Sears Canada said in a separate news release that it "welcomes the appointment of Morneau Shepell" and is working on a transition of plan administration "so that there is minimal impact on plan members."

A motion to shut down the defined benefit plan is scheduled for a hearing before Ontario Superior Court on Nov. 30.

The pension fund had C$1.2 billion ($865 million) in assets as of the plan's last valuation date, Dec. 31, 2015. The plan was 78% funded under solvency, or immediate termination, funding rules but 102% funded under ongoing operation rules, both as of the last valuation date.