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

Released: 2020-03-11

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds increased 1.6% from the second quarter to $2.04 trillion in the third quarter, up 7.3% compared with the third quarter a year earlier.

The market value of investments in bonds (+3.1%), stocks (+2.1%), mortgages (+1.5%) and real estate (+1.2%) was up in the third quarter, while short-term investments (-2.4%) were down and other assets (-0.1%) were relatively flat.

Private sector assets grow at a faster pace than public sector assets

The market value of assets held in private sector funds was up 2.3% in the third quarter, while the value of public sector funds increased 1.3%. Year over year, private sector assets rose 9.4% compared with a 6.4% increase in public sector assets.

Domestic investments show strong annual growth

Domestic holdings edged closer to $1.3 trillion in the third quarter, up 1.4% from the previous quarter. Stocks (+3.2%) and bonds (+2.4%) were up, while short-term investments (-1.7%) and other assets (-0.3%) fell. Year over year, the value of domestic assets grew 8.6%.

Foreign investments rise on the strength of stocks and bonds

The value of foreign investments increased by $14.8 billion, or 2.0%, in the third quarter to $744.4 billion, accounting for just over one-third (36.7%) of total assets at the end of the quarter.

While short-term investments fell 18.5% in the third quarter, bonds increased 8.6% to $78.9 billion, stock holdings rose 1.5% to $354.8 billion and other assets increased 1.3% to $308.1 billion. Year over year, the value of foreign assets grew 5.1%.

Net income increases

Pension fund revenue from contributions was down 13.4% in the third quarter, but this was more than offset by growth in net profit on sales of securities (+17.9%) and investment income (+3.6%), as total revenue in the third quarter increased 5.1% to $50.0 billion. At the same time, expenditures fell 4.2% to $22.3 billion, mainly due to lower pension payments (-3.3%) and administration costs (-4.7%). This resulted in net income of $27.7 billion, up 14.1% from the second quarter and 48.2% higher 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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