The value of the retirement savings of 4.6 million Canadian workers with employer-sponsored pension plans continued to increase in the second quarter of this year, says Statistics Canada.

The market value of trusteed pension fund assets rose to $950.3 billion, up 1.5% from the first quarter—the fourth consecutive quarterly improvement.

Assets in foreign holdings have increased 6.4% over the last two years. Investments in foreign holdings, particularly equities, accounted for 30.6% of pension fund assets in Q2 of 2007. The share of domestic holdings declined to 69.4% from 75.8% in the second quarter of 2005.

At the end of June, pension fund assets held in stocks and equity funds accounted for 41.3% of the total; bonds and bond funds represented 31.4%; real estate accounted for 6.3%; short-term investments were 3.2%; and mortgages accounted for 1.4%. Other assets, which include foreign-pooled funds, represented 16.4%.

Revenues jumped 24.4% from the first quarter of 2007 to $32.5 billion, while expenditures declined slightly to $10.8 billion. This resulted in a net income of $21.7 billion in Q2, up from $15.2 billion in the previous three months.

The increase largely reflects gains in investment income and profits on the sale of securities. It also reflects a 14.6% increase in employer contributions, the result of several large special payments for unfunded liabilities.

Contributions rose to $8.8 billion in the second quarter of 2007. However, pension benefits paid to retirees remained unchanged, matching the record $7.8 billion paid out in Q1. Benefit payments, which have been rising steadily over the last two years, increased 10.4% compared with the second quarter of 2005.

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About 4.6 million Canadian workers are members of trusteed pension plans. Of these, 2.5 million are public sector workers in municipal, provincial, and federal governments and enterprises, crown corporations, government boards, commissions and agencies, and public educational and health institutions. Private sector workers make up the remaining 2.1 million.

A further one million workers have employer pension plans funded by government consolidated revenue funds, or by insurance company contracts. The data refers only to the trusteed plans and all values are in current dollars.

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