September 2020 Edition

Desjardins stands apart. This is your chance to go green contest. On Target Retirement campaign. Plan member behaviour during COVID-19. Forfeited benefits. Bonus transfers... and more!

Vol. 20 – N˚9


The Banker, a key source of data and analysis for the financial industry, has recently published its Top 1000 World Banks 2020 External link. Opens in a new window., where Desjardins ranks as the top-performing financial institution in Canada.

Using additional data from their database, The Banker examined how well banks in 20 of the world's leading economies performed in the past year, and what shape they were in entering the coronavirus period.

This performance ranking highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of peer banks and assigns overall performance scores and ranks based on 8 categories: growth, profitability, operational efficiency, asset quality, return on risk, liquidity, soundness and leverage. Desjardins surpassed its Canadian competitors in most categories, scoring the highest in 6 out of the 8 categories and ranking first in overall performance. And thanks to the power of intercooperation, the Group Retirement Savings team benefits from the strengths of Desjardins.

To help relieve the stress of self-isolation and physical distancing, in late May, Desjardins hired 40 out-of-work musicians to perform virtual solos and provide an emotional lift through music to Canadians who needed it most.

 External link. Opens in a new window.

The response to our campaign, targeting primarily Ontario as well as Atlantic and Western Canada, was overwhelming.

Our nominations web page received over 10 million visits. More than 500 nominations were reviewed, and Desjardins selected 100 lucky recipients.

Our TV and radio commercials encouraging people to nominate a close family member, friend, neighbour or colleague for a virtual solo were widely broadcast on CTV and Bell Media's English networks, our partners in the initiative.

The innovative campaign was featured on several popular shows such as CP24 Breakfast, Your Morning, The Marilyn Denis Show, The Social and etalk. It was also highlighted on various social media accounts, including Desjardins's. All told, 24 million people viewed at least one element of the campaign. The Desjardins Facebook page alone generated over 7,800 reactions, more than 400 comments and over 1,000 shares.

For three weeks, starting June 19, CTV's The Social hosted a weekly podcast featuring Send a Helping Solo. Each podcast episode showcased two musical artists.

Most important of all, Desjardins is proud to have supported 40 talented musicians who performed 100 virtual solos and helped lift the spirits of Canadians across the country.

Take a look at the campaign videos as well as the virtual solos that were produced External link. Opens in a new window..

GRS Insights

How are you, physically, psychologically and financially? These are the questions that adaptable, resilient and empathetic companies have asked their employees during the crisis. The interaction between physical, psychological and financial health is indeed significant. This year more than ever, employers have realized that what affects one, affects the other.

On June 17, 2020, Charmaine Alexander, Senior Advisor, Disability Management and Prevention at Desjardins Insurance, hosted "Overall Health: The key to employee well-being during and after the pandemic," a webinar on the Benefits and Pensions Monitor (BPM) platform.

The concept of overall health is the next step in the evolution of employee group plans. During the crisis, companies had no choice but to take care of the physical, mental, and financial health of their employees. This is bound to be the new normal, as it touches on all components of health and all drivers of well-being at work.

Key points from the presentation

  • Insights on how the crisis has affected people at work
  • Practices to adopt to help employees regain their peace of mind
  • Tools you can use to better cater to your employees' needs
  • How you can take full advantage of your plan to enrich your employees' financial health and well-being at work

Tune in to the webinar on demand via External link. Opens in a new window..

From a general standpoint, the pandemic has changed our lifestyles. Here are a few observations we've made about our plan members' behaviour during the crisis:

Secure website visits have significantly increased

Plan member website visits have increased 34% in comparison to the same period last year, which brings the website usage rate up to 43%. It's interesting to note that 28% of these users access the website via a mobile device.

More of our digital communications have been read

We saw the email open rate increase to 47%, which is excellent news!

Plan members have stayed the course

Plan members followed our advice to remain invested. They stayed the course, making very few changes to their portfolios. Only 0.29% of plan members made interfund transfers, changes to investment options or withdrawals.

More plan members have sought guidance and advice

Visits to the "My peace of mind" section of the Wellness centre on the plan member secure website increased to an astounding 84%, while the call centre received 25% more calls from plan members wanting investment-related information and in-plan advice. Almost 70% of calls received were for web support or questions on withdrawals.

Your plan members

This autumn, we're inviting your plan members to go green by choosing our online services.

To be automatically entered in the contest, all they have to do is visit the secure member website via between October 1 and November 30, 2020. Bonus: If they sign up for electronic statements (My profile > Communication preferences), they'll double their chances of winning!

Four cash prizes of $1,000

Plan members have a chance of winning one of four cash prizes of $1,000. Winners can have the money deposited into their group retirement savings plan1 or paid out to them directly. To choose the four winners, two draws will be held on November 4 and two others on December 3, 2020.

On October 1, your plan members will receive an email inviting them to enter the contest and watch a video outlining the benefits of using our online services.

To learn more, read the full contest rules (PDF, 263 KB).

Posters to promote the contest

[8.5 x 11 poster] (PDF, 4.6 MB) Opens in a new window.

[11 x 17 poster] (PDF, 4.7 MB) Opens in a new window.

On August 20, your plan members received an email inviting them to complete or update their On Target Retirement® Registered trademark. goal tracker.

This email served two purposes: to highlight our goal tracker and introduce plan members to our virtual guide, Penny. With these two tools, plan members will get recommendations on how to stay on top of their savings goals, achieve financial wellness and enjoy the retirement they've been dreaming of.

Email customization

To ensure that we communicated as much pertinent information as possible, we segmented plan members into two groups:

  • Those who've completed On Target Retirement within the last two years
  • Those who've never completed it or completed it more than two years ago

Different messages were sent to these two groups to better guide them on accessing the site and completing, or updating, On Target Retirement.

This campaign is part of our initiative to contribute to the financial wellness of your plan members by encouraging them to use the secure website to:

  • Create an account
  • Enrol in a plan
  • Become more autonomous in managing their group retirement savings

As announced in the May edition, we produced two short videos to help plan members create and access their online accounts. Since then, we've given the videos a makeover and here are the results:

These online tutorials have now been added to the group retirement savings landing page on They're being integrated into our emails and are also available at any time in the site's Videos section.

Feel free to share these tutorials with your plan members in your own communications.

How to

Please disregard this article if your plan has immediate vesting.

What does vesting mean?

Vesting occurs when an employee becomes entitled to the accumulated value of employer contributions, by meeting plan membership or employment requirements (as defined by plan rules). Vesting can be used as a strategy to retain employees.

What happens if an employee leaves before employer contributions are vested?

If you offer a deferred profit-sharing plan (DPSP) or a defined contribution (DC) plan without immediate vesting, non-vested employer contributions are forfeited by employees who leave the plan. The benefits forfeited in a given year must be used by December 31 of the following year.

This means that the amounts forfeited in 2019 must be used by December 31, 2020.

What happens to forfeited benefits?

Depending on your plan rules, you can use the forfeited benefits to:

  • Pay for all or some of the contributions that you would ordinarily have to pay into your plan
  • Pay the fees you are responsible for
  • Distribute the unused benefits to your plan members

If you choose the last option, you have to let Desjardins know whether you would like the unused benefits to be distributed evenly among all employees or on a pro rata basis.

Please contact your CRM or call Plan Sponsor Services at 1-888-280-2447 This link launch your default phone software. to let us know what you would like to do with these forfeited benefits, if you haven't already.

Our contribution management solution lets employees enter their own special contributions on the secure plan member website, accessible via This link opens in a new window.. This feature helps them manage their contributions and encourages them to set up automatic transfers to their group RRSP, TFSA or non-registered plan.

This feature also makes your life easier! At the end of each bonus period, you receive a detailed report outlining your employees' instructions on how to invest their bonuses. You can then use this report to make your remittances.

To simplify your administrative tasks even further, you could combine this solution with other contribution level management (CLM) and electronic data transfer (EDT) solutions.

To take advantage of this feature or any of our other tools, contact your client relationship manager or Plan Sponsor Services at 1-888-510-4762 This link launch your default phone software..

Investments and financial markets

On July 17, Fidelity announced that Catriona Martin will take on the role of Chief Investment Officer, Bonds, alongside Robin Foley, effective October 1, 2020. She will succeed Jamie Pagliocco, who was appointed Head of Fixed Income earlier this year. The co-CIO structure entails each CIO having oversight of specific bond strategies. Ms. Martin will have oversight responsibility for the following teams: Canadian, Core/Core Plus, Global, and Municipal. Ms. Foley will continue to have oversight responsibility for the following teams: Credit/LDI, Government/Mortgage, Limited Term Bond, Index Strategies and SMAs.

On July 21, Triasima Portfolio Management Inc. announced the appointment of Scott Collins as Deputy Chief Investment Officer of the company, effective immediately. Mr. Collins is a founding partner and director of Triasima. André Chabot remains involved with Triasima on a full-time basis and retains the chief investment officer responsibilities, with no specific timeline to transfer these activities. Triasima remains committed to keeping its clients and their consultants informed during Mr. Chabot's transition process.

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The Essential keeps you up to speed about your Desjardins retirement savings plan.

  1. The winner must have sufficient contribution room in the registered plan they select.