Surprise and initial disbelief was my reaction upon reading the headline "Canadians should be allowed to contribute more to CPP to ‘reignite a culture of savings,’ urges CIBC chief" yesterday in the Financial Post. But it's true - the head of one of Canada's banks has come out in support of an idea that has been portrayed by some as the stupid notion of an ill-advised anti-business left-wing labour movement but which actually makes a lot of sense (as I have blogged about comparing CPP to RRSPs and the like, in relation to retirees' needs, comparing to the proposed PRPPs). It is quite significant when a major bank head publicly expresses support. After all the banks make a lot of profit from RRSPs, mutual funds and would do so from PRPPs that are the private sector alternative to CPP. So kudos to CIBC and CEO Gerry McCaughey for saying something that may not be in their narrow best interest but which is good for Canada and average Canadians.
A fine but critical point of potential disagreement with what McCaughey said is that the voluntary participation in the expanded CPP should be made the default option i.e. people should be automatically included though they could opt out if they deliberately chose to leave it. That way, just about everyone would be in it. To offer participation as a voluntary opt in, where you have to take action to join, would be next to useless as too few people would join. People need a Nudge as Thaler and Sunstein tell us in the eponymous book.
Disclosure: I own bank shares directly and in ETFs (and so does just about every Canadian in their equity mutual funds or ETFs) and I will be getting CPP, though not any expanded benefits if it is expanded on a pre-funded basis as I believe it should be done.