The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s net assets passed the $500 billon mark after earning 3.5 per cent returns in its first quarter of 2021.

The CPPIB announced its assets had grown from $497.2 billion to $519.6 billion during the quarter. In total, the organization generated $17.7 billion in income during the period, driving its 10-year annualized net returns to 11.1 per cent.

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“Diversification from active management continues to drive long-term performance as strong 10-year returns help bolster the sustainability of the fund,” said John Graham, president and chief executive officer of the CPPIB, in a press release.

The first-quarter results were driven by its investments in public and private equities, as well as from its real assets programs and contributions from credit investments, said the release. The strength of the Canadian dollar, which gained about three pennies against the American dollar during the quarter, somewhat muted overall returns.