Canadian pension funds total increases to $1.2 trillion: StatsCan

Employer-sponsored funds up 3.1 per cent in fourth quarter

The market value of Canadian employer-sponsored pension funds totaled $1.2 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter, up 3.1 per cent from the third quarter.

On an annual basis, the value of pension fund assets increased 9.3 per cent in 2012, following gains of 4.3 per cent in 2011 and 14.2 per cent in 2010.

Pension fund investments in stocks grew four per cent in the fourth quarter, surpassing the 3.2 per cent gain in the value of shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the same period.

The value of bond holdings increased 0.9 per cent, while investments in real estate assets grew 6.1 per cent and foreign investments increased in value 5.7 per cent.

Pension fund revenues grew 16.6 per cent to $36.1 billion in the fourth quarter, the result of special year-end pension contributions by plan sponsors, and annual dividends payments from Canadian and foreign stocks.

Expenditures in the fourth quarter rose 10.3 per cent to $16.1 billion, due in part to increased benefit payments. However, with higher fourth quarter revenues, net income increased from $16.4 billion in the third quarter to $20.1 billion at the end of the fourth quarter.

Just over six million Canadian workers are members of employer pension plans. Of this group, five million workers are members of trusteed plans. The remaining one million members with employer pension plans are managed, principally, by insurance company contracts. Data in this release refer only to trusteed plans and their pension funds.

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