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CCWIPP Trustees "Totally Failed" Judge Rules

Written by Wanda Pasz Monday, 07 December 2009

Trustees of the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension plan were convicted today of violating the Pension Benefits Act of Ontario. Multiple charges were laid against the trustees in 2006 after an investigation by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario found numerous apparent breaches of pension laws.

The judgment: R. v Christophe et al

The charges against the trustees essentially fell into 3 categories: That the trustees failed to properly supervise the pension fund's investment committee (which was comprised of three of them). That the trustees violated percentage limits on investments mandated by the legislation (to decrease risk and promote diversification, a pension fund can't have more than 10% of its total assets invested in any one corporation). That the trustees failed to exercise care, diligence and skill in the administration and investment of pension fund monies. The judge did not mince words in finding the trustees guilty as charged on the first two categories, stating that they "totally failed" in the duty to supervise with respect to the quantitative limits and to supervise the investment committee in this regard.

In relation to the third category, the trustees beat the rap because the FSCO failed to call any expert testimony regarding the care, diligence and skill that went into some of the trustees' more ridiculous investments.

The trustees - Clifford Evans, Michael Fraser, Wayne Hanley, Anthony Filato and Bernard Christophe,(all current and former UFCW leaders) and Lucy Paglione, Tom Zakrzewski, Alain Picard and Gordy Cannady (executives representing, respectively, Loblaw Companies, A&P, Metro Richelieu and Canada Safeway)- are due back in court on January 11, 2010 for the sentencing phase of the proceedings.

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