Canadian pension assets rebounded in 2009, nearly reaching their 2007 level, according to Statistics Canada.
The turmoil in financial markets, especially a decline in equity prices, led to a steep decline of pension assets in 2008. But strong-performing global equity markets helped pension assets grow by 15.5 per cent in 2009 to reach $2.1 trillion by year's end.
The recovery was relatively evenly distributed across individual, employer and government pension plans.
Individual registered saving plans led the way, up 20.5 per cent to $750.9 billion. Social security and employer-based pension plans were up 13.3 per cent and 12.8 per cent, respectively.
In 2008, pension plan assets declined by about $379.3 billion. Employer-based pension plans lost $207.2 billion, individual registered saving plans lost $138.8 billion and social security lost $33.4 billion.
In addition, investment income fell four per cent in 2008, the first decline since 2002. Income for individual registered saving plans declined 7.5 per cent, while income of employer-based pension plans fell 2.9 per cent. However, investment income earned on social security pension assets increased 1.8 per cent.
Contributions to pension plans edged up only 0.4 per cent in 2008, mostly due to a 2.2-per-cent decrease in contributions to individual plans.
Pension withdrawals also grew at a slower pace in 2008 (three per cent compared to 7.1 per cent in 2007), as more people put off withdrawing from their plans in hopes the markets would rebound.
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