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Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds), second quarter 2017

Released: 2017-12-13

The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds was $1.78 trillion in the second quarter. This was down 1.0% compared with the previous quarter, but up 7.5% from the second quarter of 2016.

Pension fund investments held in stocks decreased 4.6% to $501.3 billion, while investments in bonds remained relatively stable, up 0.5% to $589.0 billion.

Foreign investments grows year over year

Foreign investments totalled $612.1 billion, accounting for 34.5% of total pension fund assets. Investments in foreign bonds decreased 7.1%, following a 23.9% increase the previous quarter. Meanwhile, holdings in foreign stocks fell 6.1% to $286.3 billion. Year over year, foreign investments grew 12.8%, mainly due to an increase of 17.6% in foreign bond holdings.

Pension fund revenue declines in the second quarter

Pension fund revenue declined 1.0% in the second quarter, following a 14.8% decrease in the first quarter. Profits on the sales of securities fell 21.9% compared with the first quarter, while investment income rose 20.0% to $14.4 billion.

Net income down by one-third from the first quarter

Expenditures increased 43.8% to $30.4 billion in the second quarter, after falling 5.6% in the first quarter. Pension payments increased 4.8%, representing 53.3% of total expenditures. The decrease in revenues combined with the increase in expenditures resulted in a decline in net income in the second quarter, to $17.4 billion, down from $27.2 billion in the first quarter.

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