Managing Retirement Plans Part 1

Managing Retirement Plans Part 1

This course is required to earn the following designations: RPA, CEBS

*Important note: The RPA 1 Course (Managing Retirement Plans Part 1) is being extensively revised and a new Study Guide and textbook are required reading for purposes of the CEBS program and the national exam.  These materials will be available beginning October 2021. The updates will be reflected in exams administered on and after January 15, 2022. These updates cover all modules of the course.*

Retirement plans can be designed, funded and administered by plan sponsors in any number of ways. The overall plan management function (e.g., who makes key decisions, legislative requirements that apply, who is accountable for results) varies depending on the type of vehicle used to provide pensions— registered or nonregistered, defined benefit or defined contribution, or a hybrid. Regardless of the type of retirement plan, some common principles and processes apply. RPA1 examines what is entailed in retirement plan management decisions and factors that impact design, funding and administration options available to plan sponsors and governance requirements. Text-based reading is supported with regulatory guidance and industry-based practice guidelines.

Topics covered in RPA 1

  • Designing Registered Pension Plans
  • Designing Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Deferred Profit-Sharing Plans
  • Leveraging the Tax Regime in Plan Design
  • Complying With Pension Standards Legislation
  • Establishing Effective Governance
  • Administering Retirement Arrangements
  • Optimizing Plan Funding
  • Complying With Financial Accounting Requirements
  • Managing Retirement Plan Assets
  • Addressing Special Provisions: Multi-Employer Pension Plans
  • Managing Special Situations-Corporate Reorganizations, Plan Terminations and Surplus
  • Nonregistered Plans

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Resources for RPA 1


Successful completion of comprehensive exam         



RPA 1 Study Guide, including online access to the guide and practice exam

*Readings Updates



The Morneau Shepell Handbook of Canadian Pension and Benefit Plans,
16th Edition
LexisNexis, 2016



Online Study Group With Instructor Support
12-week sessions in fall, spring and summer



Study Guide—Delivered in Print and Online!
The CEBS Study Guide is an essential component for mastering the CEBS material you will be tested on in the examination. Your Study Guide purchase is made through Books for Business and includes both a printed study guide and access to an online environment.

  • Learning Modules provide structured coverage and highlight key elements and critical takeaways of the Assigned Reading. The learning modules draw on readings from Textbooks and journal articles written by leading academics and expert practitioners.
  • Applications are designed to make you think about how what you are learning translates to the work world. Two types of applications are provided throughout the CEBS courses—Benefits in Action and Integrated Cases (Capstone Cases).
  • Practice exam, accessible in the online environment, provides immediate results indicating the areas that may need additional study, along with page reference sources and an explanation of correct responses.


A textbook and/or supplementary readings are required for each course, providing the theory and content of the topics covered in the study guide.

Online Study Group With Instructor Support

Need a little push to stay on track or the security of expert and peer support? Online study groups are for you. Guided study groups provide access to instructors, a structured time frame and peer interaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still looking for more information? Check out CEBS FAQ for further details on curriculum updates.