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Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds), first quarter 2019

Released: 2019-09-11

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds totalled $1.97 trillion in the first quarter, up 5.0% from the fourth quarter of 2018 and up 3.6% year over year.

Short-term investments, such as short-term corporate bonds, banker's acceptances, treasury bills and commercial paper, posted the strongest growth, up 10.2% from the fourth quarter of 2018 to $82.4 billion in the first quarter.

Mortgage investments also rose, up 6.3% from the previous quarter to $23.6 billion, while bond investments increased 6.0% to $631.4 billion. Real estate investments were the only type of asset to decline in the first quarter, dropping 0.2% to $201.5 billion.

All types of domestic investments are up

Domestic holdings totalled over $1.2 trillion in the first quarter, up 6.4% from the fourth quarter of 2018. Every type of Canadian asset increased: bonds (+7.6%), stocks (+4.4%), short-term assets (+10.4%) and other assets (+5.2%). Year over year, the value of domestic assets grew 5.7%.

Foreign investments rise

In the first quarter, the value of foreign investments increased 2.6% from the previous quarter to $713.7 billion, representing 36.5% of total assets in the quarter.

Investments in foreign bonds declined 4.0% in the quarter, while foreign stock holdings were flat. In contrast, investments in foreign pooled funds (+8.3%) and short-term assets (+7.1%) recorded growth. Year over year, the value of foreign assets was stable.

Jump in net income

Net income was up 52.6% in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2018 and up 31.0% year over year. Pension fund revenues fell 3.5% in the quarter, and expenditures dropped 32.2%, resulting in a net income of $26.3 billion.

Sales of securities were the driving force behind the jump in net income, with profits on the sales of securities up 58.2% to $20.0 billion in the first quarter, and losses from the sales of securities shrinking 98.7% to $110 million.

  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 by the Government of Canada or the 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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