The following information is designed to assist you in understanding some of the terms used in connection with Western Retirement Plans.  If you have further questions, please contact the Human Resources Communication Centre at 519-661-2194 or email

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Active Portfolio Management 

A style of investment management that seeks to attain returns above a certain market standard.

Actuarial Valuation

An examination of a pension plan to determine whether contributions are being accumulated at a rate sufficient to provide benefits promised.


A person professionally trained in the technical and mathematical aspects of insurance, pensions and related fields.

Additional University Contributions

Additional contributions between 0.5% and 1% of pensionable earnings that have been made on behalf of Special members in the Administrative Staff pension plan, in recognition of their long service and in accordance with University agreements with various employee groups. Non-special members also receive 0.5% to 1% additional contributions, but they are included in the University Regular calculation. The distinction is made for Special Members for administrative purposes.


A series of payments of a fixed amount for the rest of one's life.

Arithmetic Average

Items to be averaged are added and their sum is divided by the number of items. The result is an arithmetic, or simple, average (or mean).


Balanced Fund

An investment strategy which includes securities from more than one asset class and several sectors and regions, which diversifies the portfolio, reducing the volatility of periodic returns.


A standard measurement of investment performance that other investment returns can be compared to.


A security representing the loan of an investor to a corporation, government or government agency on which interest is paid on a specific amount at a specific time.


Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP)

A tax sheltered investment or savings plan that permits the members to make investment decisions among two or more options offered within the plan.  Western’s pension plans are capital accumulation plans.


Deferred Annuity    

An annuity contract that provides for the initiation of payments at some designated date in the future.

Defined Contribution Plan

A pension plan where the retirement income is dependent on the amount of accumulated contributions under the plan, and where the on-going contributions to the plan is defined by formula.


In the context of retirement savings, refers to a group of securities that have a variety of return and risk characteristics.

Derivative Instrument    

A financial obligation that derives its precise value from the value of one or more other assets (e.g. stocks) at that same point in time.



Refers to ownership of property', usually in the form of common stocks.

Equity Risk Premium  

The expected spread between the yield of a bond and the return on equities over time.


Financial Times Stock Exchange

A company that publishes stock, bond and other security benchmark indices for measuring investment performance.



Is used to reference a specific investment strategy where the impact of currency fluctuations is neutralized.


Life Income Fund (New LIF) (effective Jan 1, 2009)

A New Life Income Fund is an investment and payment arrangement for locked-in pension funds. A New LIF provides payments at least annually from an investment fund which remains the property of the payee throughout the payment period. Payment levels are subject to a maximum annual limit determined generally as the greater of the investment earnings in the previous year and the yield of a long-term government bond.


A Locked-In Retirement Account is an investment arrangement for locked-in pension funds. The investments are identical to RRSPs except that the funds may only be withdrawn to purchase an annuity or a New LIF.


Refers to a provision under pension benefit legislation that requires funds set aside in an employer pension plan be used only for income during the member's retirement years. Locked-in funds cannot be refunded in a lump sum payment on or after retirement.



Morgan Stanley Composite Index - used to measure relative stock performance in regions around the world.


Part-Time Member

Employees who have qualified for and elected to join the plan and are not Regular full-time members.

Passive Portfolio

A style of investment management that seeks to attain the performance of a certain market standard or benchmark.

Pensionable Earnings

For full-time members, the amount of regular annual compensation payable to a person; for part-time members, the total compensation paid to the person.  These are the earnings on which contributions are based.


Regular Account 

A pension account that holds all accumulated required contributions made by the member and their employer on the member's behalf, in accordance with the terms of the plan and the member's direction.

Regular Member

An academic employee whose appointment is on a full-time basis for a term of one year or more or an administrative staff employee whose employment is for a continuous period of 12 months or more where the termination date cannot be identified and who works the normal workweek hours in excess of 24 hours.


A Registered Retirement Income Fund is a payment arrangement for funds accumulated in a RRSP or for non-locked-in funds accumulated in a pension plan.


A Registered Retirement Savings Plan is an investment account that is permitted under the Canadian Income Tax Act. Contributions to RRSPs are tax deductible and investment income accumulates tax free. Tax is paid on all cash withdrawals from RRSPs.



Standard & Poor's value-weighted index of 500 large U.S. companies is a series of numbers, the ratios of which represent the change in value of stocks of those companies.


A value-weighted index of numbers, the ratio of which represents the change in value of the stocks of large companies traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


Notes, stocks, treasury bills, bonds, etc. or any certificate of interest for receipt of or right to purchase any of the foregoing.

Special Member

An Administrative Staff member who was employed on or before May 1, 1974 and is entitled to a minimum guaranteed annual pension determined by formula.


A person to whom the member is married or is not married but the member and that person have been living together in a conjugal relationship continuously for three years or in a relationship of some permanence if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.

Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures

A document that outlines the employer's investment policies and limitations with respect to pension plan investments which is filed with governing authorities.


Securities issued by corporations for the purpose of raising capital which represent an ownership interest in the corporation. The investment may provide dividend payments and capital appreciation.



Is used in reference to a non-Canadian investment where the impact of currency fluctuations is included in the total investment return.


Voluntary Account

A pension account that holds accumulated contributions that have been made by a member, above what was required to be contributed to the member's regular account (including transfers in from RRSPs and other registered plans). Some of the funds in a voluntary account maybe locked-in if they have been transferred from another Employer. The voluntary accounts also include additional locked-in university contributions for Special Members.

Published on  and maintained in Cascade CMS.