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Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds), first quarter 2018

Released: 2018-09-13

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds totalled $1.9 trillion in the first quarter. Asset levels were up 3.0% from the fourth quarter of 2017 and 5.7% higher year over year.

Investments in short-term securities saw the largest rise in the first quarter, up 6.1% to $83.8 billion, followed by investments in mortgages, up 4.2% to $28.6 billion. Over that same period, the value of bond holdings grew 2.7% to $601.3 billion, while stock holdings grew at a similar pace (+2.6% to $577.2 billion).

Foreign investments continue to grow

Foreign investments grew 5.1% in the first quarter to $713.5 billion, accounting for 37.6% of total holdings. Foreign bond investments rose 10.9% in the first quarter to $84.9 billion. This followed two consecutive quarters of declines. Foreign stock holdings posted a second consecutive quarterly rise, up 6.8% to $356.8 billion.

Pension fund revenue down

Pension fund revenue fell 30.4% in the first quarter to $42.4 billion. The decline was due, in part, to lower revenue from non-contributions (-37.9%). Profit on the sales of securities declined 48.6% to $12.2 billion, while investment income decreased 24.0% to $13.5 billion in the first quarter. Revenue from contributions also fell in the first quarter, down 9.0% to $14.5 billion.

Net income down

Expenditures declined 9.1% to $22.2 billion in the first quarter. Pension payments, which accounted for over two-thirds of total expenditures, fell 3.5% to $15.4 billion. Administrative costs remained virtually unchanged compared with the previous quarter, down 0.6% to $1.8 billion. Overall, net income (total income minus total expenditures) declined 44.7% to $20.2 billion during the quarter.

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