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

Released: 2019-06-05

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds decreased by 1.3% from the third quarter of 2018 to just over $1.87 trillion in the fourth quarter. On a year-over-year basis, the market value of assets rose 1.6% compared with the fourth quarter of 2017.

Mortgage investments experienced the strongest growth, up 11.1% from the third quarter of 2018 to $27.4 billion in the fourth quarter. Real estate investments followed, increasing 5.5% over the same period to $201.6 billion. Meanwhile, the value of stock holdings decreased by 5.9%, bringing the total to $536.6 billion. In contrast, the value of bonds increased by 0.4% to $593.9 billion.

Slight decline in foreign investments

The value of foreign investments declined 1.7% in the fourth quarter to $695.0 billion. Foreign investments represented 37.1% of total assets. Investments in foreign bonds grew 2.7% to $82.7 billion in the fourth quarter. Foreign stock holdings declined 2.0% to $337.3 billion.

Rise in pension fund income

Pension fund revenues grew 19.3% in the fourth quarter to $50.8 billion. Total revenues from contributions increased by 12.9% to $16.9 billion. Investment income rebounded in the fourth quarter, up 46.6% to $19.4 billion, after declining in the previous quarter. Net profit on the sales of securities decreased 6.6% to $12.6 billion in the fourth quarter.

Pension fund expenses up

Expenditures increased 39.0% in the fourth quarter to $33.6 billion. Pension payments grew 5.6% to $17.2 billion. Administration expenses for pension funds were up, increasing by 18.2% from the third quarter to $2.1 billion. Market volatility in the fourth quarter contributed to the net loss from sales of securities of $8.8 billion. As a result, net income declined 6.5% in the fourth quarter to $17.2 billion.

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.

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  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

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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