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

Released: 2018-06-05

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds increased 4.3% from the third quarter of 2017 to $1.84 trillion in the fourth quarter. The year-over-year increase from the fourth quarter of 2016 was 7.2%.

Investments in short-term securities saw the largest increase in the fourth quarter, up 8.8% to $79.0 billion, followed by investments in stocks, up 6.9% in the fourth quarter to $562.4 billion. Over that same period, the value of bond holdings grew 4.1% to $585.2 billion, accounting for the largest component of trusteed pension fund investments.

Stocks the main driver of growth in foreign investments

Foreign investments grew 5.7% in the fourth quarter to $678.8 billion, a year-over-year gain of 14.5%. Foreign stock investments led this growth, climbing 9.6% to $334.0 billion in the fourth quarter. There was a slight decline in foreign bond holdings, down 0.8% to $76.6 billion.

Pension fund revenue up

Pension fund revenue increased 19.8% in the fourth quarter to $60.9 billion. In comparison to the same period in 2016, pension fund revenue was down 1.4%. Profit on the sales of securities grew to $23.7 billion, totalling $81.0 billion for the year. Investment income rebounded from a decline the previous quarter, increasing by 41.0% to $17.8 billion.

Net income up

Expenditures grew 19.5% in the fourth quarter to $24.5 billion. Pension payments increased 4.1% to $15.9 billion, totalling $62.2 billion for the year. Overall, the net income grew 20.1% to $36.5 billion during the quarter.

Over 6.2 million Canadian workers belonged to employer-sponsored pension plans in the fourth 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.

Contact information

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