February 2023 Edition

​We’re all fired up! Our processes, RRSP campaign and investment platform are hot stuff. It’s electrifying!

Vol. 13 – N˚02

Regulatory and compliance

The 5-second summary: Minor changes made to our processes to comply with Act 14, and how they will impact Quebec plans and plan members.

Background

On May 24, the Government of Quebec passed Bill 96 – An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec which has since become law as Act 14. It requires that French be the language of work for any business operating in Quebec. To comply with this new law, we are required to make changes to our group annuity contracts, but there should be no impact on plan sponsors’ business activities.

Written language requirements for group annuity contracts

Act 14 requires that certain documents sent to plan sponsors, more specifically the group annuity contract, be written in French. An English version can be provided as well, but a French version is mandatory.

Plan sponsors in Quebec who ask to receive their group annuity contract in English

Plan sponsors who executed their contract prior to June 1, 2022, will receive a French version of their contract only upon request.

Plan sponsors who executed a contract after June 1, 2022, will receive an English version of their contract, and they will also receive the identical version of their contract in French.

The group annuity contract templates will be modified by June 1, 2023, to include a provision indicating, among other things, that the plan sponsor acknowledges having received the French version of the contract and that they have requested to execute the contract in English. As soon as this provision is added, each group annuity contract will have to be provided in both languages to the plan sponsor at the same time. Plan sponsors who wish to execute their contract in English will be able to sign only the English version of the contract.

Plan sponsors outside Quebec with plan members working in Quebec

The group annuity contract will be drafted in the language confirmed during the implementation process. A French version of the group annuity contract will be available upon request.

Plan sponsors in Quebec and Plan sponsors outside Quebec with plan members working in Quebec

If a plan sponsor asks to receive their contract in English, that version will be legally binding even if we provided them with the French version.

Communication to plan sponsors

Over the next few months, the Desjardins Group retirement savings team will be contacting impacted plan sponsors to explain the changes regarding Act 14 when asked to execute their group annuity contract in English.

If you have any questions, please contact your Desjardins Insurance representative.

Your plan members

The 5-second summary: Our RRSP campaign aimed at plan members focuses on contributions made during the first 60 days of the year.

An email was sent on February 16, 2023, to remind plan members that they have until March 1, 2023, to contribute to their RRSP or VRSP for 2022. They can choose to deduct contributions made between January 1 and March 1, 2023, inclusively, from their:

  • 2022 taxable income
    or
  • 2023 taxable income

For more information about the first 60 days rule, read our article Let’s encourage contributions in the first 60 days of the year Opens in a new window..

The 5-second summary: Find out the names of our fall contest winners who each won $1,000.

The random draw for our “$1,000 closer to zen” contest was held on December 14, 2022. Congratulations to our 5 winners who each received $1,000!

  • Nicole Franc of Perth, Ontario
  • Kevin Frechette of Warwick, Quebec
  • Helder Isabel of Toronto, Ontario
  • Carina Mansilla of Montreal, Quebec
  • Sara Nabhi of Boisbriand, Quebec

For more details, read the full contest rules (PDF, 290 KB) Opens in a new window..

How to

The 5-second summary: Depending on the plans you offer, see how to transfer bonuses easily with the Desjardins Insurance bonus management solution.

The bonus management solution makes the allocation of remittances simple. At the end of each bonus data collection period, you’ll receive a detailed report that tells you how plan members want to transfer their bonus to the plan of their choice. All that’s left for you to do is to process the transactions.

The bonus management is available for:

  • Registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs)
  • Non-registered plans (NRPs)
  • Tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs)
  • Voluntary retirement savings plans (VRSPs)

What about DPSPs?

A bonus payable to an employee provided for in an employment contract or collective agreement cannot be paid into a DPSP. Only employer contributions can be paid into it. However, an employer contribution to a DPSP that’s contingent on a precondition, such as employee performance, can be made to the plan if it’s paid out of profits or based on profits, and is permitted under the plan.1

To sign up for bonus management

Contact your client relationship manager or call Plan Sponsor Services at 1-888-510-4762.

The 5-second summary: Errors happen! Here are solutions to 2 common errors involving the contribution remittance interface and the standard file.

When making your contribution remittances, incorrect or missing information can cause error messages, whether you’re using the contribution remittance interface or the standard file.

Two common situations and their solutions in case of error messages:

  1. Contribution remittance interface
  2. Situation: You pre-enrolled a new plan member and entered a contribution remittance, and then got an error message.

    Solution: Please wait 24 hours before doing anything as our system may not be up to date. If both the pre-enrolment and contribution remittance aren’t in the system the next day, contact your plan administrator.

  3. Standard file
  4. Situation: You sent the standard file and got the following message:

Hello,

The contribution remittance you sent us on February 4, 2023 has not been processed for the following reason(s):

The employee number you used does not match the participant number in our system. Please notify us if the employee number for this participant changed or if the employee number in our system is incorrect or correct your file. (TED198)

This error occurred 3 time(s), in the following row(s): 14

Please make the necessary changes and resend your remittance using the same method to ensure that the contributions are processed in full by our system.

Solution: The message tells you exactly where the mistakes are. Simply follow these steps:

  1. In the Excel file, correct the row indicated in the message.
  2. Rename the file by adding an underscore and R at the end of the original name (e.g., G00123456_COT_20230304_R).
  3. Submit the file the same way you did the first time. The new file will automatically overwrite the previous one.

IMPORTANT: If you get another error message, call your plan administrator.

If you think you’ve made an error

To make corrections to amounts, contribution types, periods or other information, or if you think there was a problem with the data transfer, call your plan administrator as soon as possible or call Plan Sponsor Services at 1-888-510-4762 or contact us by email.

Investments and financial markets

The 5-second summary: The Multi-Manager Tangible Asset Fund and the Fiera Comox Private Credit Fund are now available.

Desjardins Insurance is proud to announce that the following funds have been added to its group retirement savings platform:

  1. Multi-Manager Tangible Asset since January 31, 2023. Benefiting from daily liquidity, this fund is available to all types of tax-exempt plans and enhances our alternative investment offering. This fund was previously offered on an off-platform basis.
  2. Fiera Comox Private Credit Fund since January 3, 2023. This fund enhances our fixed income offering by allowing an undiluted exposure to private credit instruments. This same strategy was just recently added to the composition of our Multi-Manager Private Credit Fund.

About the Multi-Manager Tangible Asset Fund

The Multi-Manager Tangible Asset Fund is composed of a portfolio of underlying funds that aims to provide both current income and long-term capital appreciation. It primarily invests in tangible assets worldwide, targeting private real estate and infrastructure strategies. The fund can also invest a limited portion of its assets in public real estate and infrastructure securities as well as in publicly traded fixed income securities. The fund’s current target mix is the following:

Private tangible assets70%
DFS Invesco Global Direct Real Estate Fund28%
DFS UBS Global Direct Real Estate Fund14%
DFS IFM Global Direct Infrastructure Fund28%
Public tangible assets22.5%
DFS BlackRock® Global Real Estate Index Fund7.5%
DFS BlackRock® Global Infrastructure Index Fund15%
Fixed-income securities7.5%
DFS PH&N Short Term Bond and Mortgage Fund7.5%

Although this fund benefits from daily liquidity, transactions of material order are subject to a predefined transactional window within each quarter due to the illiquid nature of certain underlying investments. This measure aims to ensure the optimal operation of the fund for all investors.

About the Fiera Comox Private Credit Fund

This fund is a diversified portfolio of global corporate private credit instruments that aims to generate attractive absolute returns over the long term while preserving capital. It seeks to build and maintain a portfolio of around 20 investments, emphasizing senior and subordinated debt while opportunistically investing in junior credit instruments.

The fund manager considers various financing transactions, primarily with mid-market companies in the United States and Europe, including acquisitions, refinancings, dividend recapitalization and growth financing. The fund manager seeks to optimize the portfolio for performance across economic cycles, looking for 4 main characteristics across all investments: (i) quality companies, (ii) high contractual returns, (iii) tight and restrictive legal documentation and (iv) downside protection in the event of an economic downturn.

This fund, due to the nature of its underlying investments, possesses specific entry and exit provisions that can be shared upon request. In addition, it cannot be offered on an individual basis or within a Lifecycle Path in the context of a capital accumulation plan.

For more information about these new funds, don’t hesitate to contact your client relationship manager.

The 5-second summary: Certain funds will be withdrawn from the platform on May 5, 2023.

In the context of its fund offer monitoring and management practices, Desjardins Insurance will be withdrawing the following funds from its group retirement savings platform on May 5, 2023:

  • 302 – DFS BlackRock® LifePath® 2020 Index
  • 609 – CC&L Canadian Equity Income & Growth
  • 612 – T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity
  • 346 – Invesco Global Absolute Return

Important

Plan members and sponsors impacted by these changes should already have received a communication to that effect, specifying, among other things, the replacement fund defined for each of the withdrawn funds.

Different factors are considered when deciding whether to maintain a given fund on the platform. These include the respect of the qualitative and quantitative criteria on which our fund governance process is based, the level of interest for the fund as well as its competitiveness against comparable investment options.

For more information about these changes, contact your client relationship manager.

The 5-second summary: Changes to the leadership team at Fiera Capital, departures at DGAM and Lazard.

Fiera Capital

On January 23, 2023, Fiera Capital announced that Jean-Guy Desjardins, founder and Executive Chairman of the firm, had accepted to resume his duties as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Desjardins succeeded Jean-Philippe Lemay. Under the new leadership structure, the following changes were also made:

  • John Valentini was appointed Executive Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fiera Private Markets.
  • Jean Michel was appointed Executive Director, President and Chief Investment Officer of Fiera Public Markets.
  • Peter Stock was appointed Executive Director, President of Fiera Private Wealth.
  • Lucas Pontillo was appointed Executive Director, Global Chief Financial Officer.
  • Gabriel Castiglio was appointed Executive Director, Global Chief Legal Officer.

In addition, an executive committee consisting of Mr. Desjardins and the above-mentioned executives was formed.

The Desjardins Insurance Investment Solutions team deems these changes to have a material impact on the firm. We will closely monitor the situation in the short term and provide further updates as needed.

DGAM

On January 11, 2023, DGAM announced the departure of Solène Hanquier, practice leader in ESG strategies. Ms. Hanquier decided to take on new challenges outside of Desjardins. She was behind the deployment of Responsible Investing (RI) at DGAM as well as the firm’s ESG analysis process.

The Desjardins Insurance Investment Solutions team deems this change to have a moderate impact on the firm. We will monitor the situation in upcoming quarters and provide further updates as needed.

Lazard

On January 27, 2023, Lazard announced the departure of Kevin Matthews, portfolio manager/analyst in the International Equity team. Mr. Matthews will not be replaced, but it should be noted that 2 new resources joined this team in 2022, namely Paul Selvey-Clinton (portfolio manager/analyst) and Ming Kwang (research analyst).

The Desjardins Insurance Investment Solutions team deems this change to have a moderate impact on the DFS Lazard International Equity Fund. We will monitor the situation in upcoming quarters and provide further updates as needed.

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Notes

BlackRock® is a registered trademark of BlackRock, Inc. Used under license.

LifePath® is a registered trademark of BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. Used with permission

  1. Contributions can be calculated based on profits or paid out of profits. In the first case, the contribution amount is expressed as a percentage of profits for the year. In the second case, the contribution amount may be expressed in various ways, and the term profits may be defined as either the year’s profits or the current and previous years’ undistributed profits, when allowed by the plan. For more information, consult the Canada Revenue Agency website S’ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre..