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

Released: 2019-12-12

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds surpassed $2 trillion in the second quarter, an increase of 2.0% over the first quarter and up 4.9% year over year. In less than 10 years, the asset holdings of Trusteed Pension Funds have more than doubled, since first topping $1 trillion in 2010.

Investments in bonds (+1.5%), stocks (+3.1%), mortgages (+3.7%) and real estate (+0.7%) were all up in the second quarter, while short-term investments, such as short-term corporate bonds, banker's acceptances, treasury bills and commercial paper were down 9.0%.

Domestic investments mixed, but up overall

Domestic holdings totalled nearly $1.3 trillion in the second quarter, up 1.9% from the first quarter. Pooled funds increased 2.6% in the second quarter and bonds were up 2.9%, offsetting declines in stocks (-1.6%) and short-term investments (-9.4%). Year over year, the value of domestic assets grew 6.8%.

Foreign investments rise on the strength of stocks

The value of foreign investments increased 2.2% from the previous quarter to $729.6 billion in the second quarter, representing 36.4% of total assets at the end of the quarter.

While bonds declined 8.5% and short-term investments fell 5.8% in the second quarter, stock holdings rose 4.0% to $349.6 billion and pooled funds increased 3.2% to $304.1 billion.

Drop in net income

Pension fund revenue from contributions rose by 14.6% in the second quarter and investment income increased 12.2%. However, total revenue fell by 3.2%, due to lower profits on the sales of securities (-26.1%). At the same time, expenditures rose 2.1%, mainly due to increases in pension payments (+5.4%) and administration costs (+7.3%). This resulted in a net income of $24.3 billion, down 7.7% from the first quarter but up 27.7% year over year.

  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

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