Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds), fourth quarter 2011

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The market value of Canadian employer-sponsored pension funds totalled $1.1 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter, a 3.4% increase from the previous quarter.

In 2011, these pension fund assets increased 4.6%, compared with 14.2% in 2010 and 10.5% in 2009.

The value of pension fund investments in bonds increased 3.6% to $424.8 billion in the fourth quarter. Investments in stocks recovered from losses in the third quarter, increasing 2.9% to $338.5 billion.

In the fourth quarter, 70.2% of pension fund investments were in domestic holdings, and 29.8% in foreign holdings, unchanged from the previous quarter.

Revenue increased 34.4% to $29.2 billion in the fourth quarter. This increase was the result of special payments made by employers to cover pension liabilities, increased investment income and profits from the sale of securities.

With lower losses from the sale of securities compared with the previous quarter, expenditures fell 14.2% to $17.5 billion. With this decrease in expenditures and the increase in revenues, net income rose from $1.3 billion to $11.6 billion in the fourth quarter.

Just over 6.0 million Canadian workers are members of employer pension plans. Of this group, 5.0 million workers are members of trusteed plans. The remaining 1.0 million members with employer pensions are in plans managed principally by insurance company contracts. Data in this release refer only to trusteed plans and their pension funds.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table280-0002 to 280-0004.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number2607.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or the Media Hotline (613-951-4636; statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca).