Retired Money: Has Purpose uncorked the next Retirement income game changer?

Purpose Investments:

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column has just been published: you can find the full version by clicking on this highlighted text: Is the Longevity Pension Fund a cure for Retirement Income Worries? 

The topic is last Tuesday’s announcement by Purpose Investments of its new Longevity Pension Fund (LPF). In the column retired actuary Malcolm Hamilton describes LPF as “partly variable annuity, part tontine and part Mutual Fund.”

We described tontines in this MoneySense piece three years ago. Milevsky wasn’t available for comment but his colleague Alexandra Macqueen does offer her insights in the column.

The initial publicity splash as far as I know came early last week with this column from the Globe & Mail’s Rob Carrick, and fellow MoneySense columnist Dale Roberts in his Cutthecrapinvesting blog: Canadian retirees get a massive raise thanks to the Purpose Longevity Fund. Dale kindly granted permission for that to be republished soon after on the Hub. There Roberts described the LPF as a game changer, a moniker the Canadian personal finance blogger community last used to describe Vanguard’s Asset Allocation ETFs. Also at the G&M, Ian McGugan filed Money for life: The pros and cons of the Purpose Longevity Pension Fund, which may be restricted to Globe subscribers.

A mix of variable annuity, tontine, mutual fund and ETFs

So what exactly is this mysterious vehicle? While technically a mutual fund, the underlying investments are in a mix of Purpose ETFs, and the overall mix is not unlike some of the more aggressive Asset Allocation ETFs or indeed Vanguard’s subsequent VRIF: Vanguard Retirement Income Portfolio. The latter “targets” (but like Purpose, does not guarantee) a 4% annual return.

The asset mix is a fairly aggressive 47% stocks, 38% fixed income and 15% alternative investments that include gold and a real assets fund, according to the Purpose brochure. The geographic mix is 25% Canada, 60% United States, 9% international and 6% Emerging Markets.

There are two main classes of fund: an Accumulation Class for those under 65 who are  still saving for retirement; and a Decumulation class for those 65 and older. There is a tax-free rollover from Accumulation to Decumulation class.

There are four Decumulation cohorts in three-year spans for those born 1945 to 1947, 1948 to 1950, 1951 to 1953 and 1954 to 1956. Depending on the class of fund (A or F),  management fees are either 1.1% or 0.6%. [Advisors may receive trailer commissions.] There will also be a D series for self-directed investors.

Initial distribution rates for purchases made in 2021 range from 5.65% to 6.15% for the youngest cohort, rising to 6.4 to 6.5% for the second youngest, 6.4% to 6.9% for the second oldest, and 6.9% to 7.4% for the oldest cohort.

Note that in the MoneySense column, Malcolm Hamilton provides the following caution about how to interpret those seemingly tantalizing 6% (or so) returns: “The 6.15% target distribution should not be confused with a 6.15% rate of return … The targeted return is approximately 3.5% net of fees. Consequently approximately 50% of the distribution is expected to be return of capital. People should not imagine that they are earning 6.15%; a 3.5% net return is quite attractive in this environment. Of course, there is no guarantee that you will earn the 3.5%.”

Full details of the LPF can be found in the MoneySense column and at the Purpose website.

2 thoughts on “Retired Money: Has Purpose uncorked the next Retirement income game changer?

  1. &*&*A Anything to stick it to the retirees. 1,1% of any amount is still a good amount of change. I would rather go it on my own than pay these fees to anyone. It is like shooting fish in a barrel you just can’t miss and it is all free cash. Well *%#$@ you!

    1. Costs always count. Every investor must make her (or his) own decision on cost versus value.

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