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Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds), third quarter 2017

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Released: 2018-03-07

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds decreased 0.6% from the second quarter to $1.77 trillion in the third quarter. However, this was up 3.0% from the third quarter of 2016.

Investments in mortgages saw the largest increase in the third quarter, rising 6.8% to $25.6 billion. Real estate investments fell 4.5% to $149.9 billion. Meanwhile, the value of Canadian bond holdings declined 2.5%, coinciding with the 50 basis point increase in the interest rate set by the Bank of Canada.

Minor gains in foreign investments

Foreign investments grew 0.2% to $613.5 billion in the third quarter, a year-over-year gain of 7.7%. Foreign stock investments rose 0.3% to $287.0 billion in the third quarter. Meanwhile, foreign bond holdings declined 2.4% to $69.4 billion.

Pension fund revenue grows in third quarter

Pension fund revenue increased 7.4% in the third quarter, following a 1.0% decline in the second quarter. Profit on the sales of securities rose 25.4% to $21.5 billion, representing 41.8% of total revenue, while investment income fell 11.2%.

Net income up in the third quarter

Expenditures fell 32.2% to $20.6 billion in the third quarter, following a 44.1% increase in the second quarter. Pension payments decreased by 2.5%, representing 76.6% of total expenditures. Overall, the net income grew 76.6% to $30.8 billion in the third quarter.

Over 6.2 million Canadian workers belonged to employer-sponsored pension plans in the third quarter. Of this group, 5.2 million or 82.7% belonged to pension plans with assets managed by trusteed funds, while the remainder had assets managed by insurance company contracts.

  Note to readers

For the purposes of this survey, trusteed pension funds include the assets of one or more registered pension plans: those held under a trust agreement, those held by a pension corporation or pension fund society, those administered under legislation of the Government of Canada or government of a province of Canada, and those held by an insurance company for investment management only.

Excluded from the survey are pension funds held in total under an annuity insurance contract.

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