Canada has edged out Britain as the fifth-largest country by share of pension assets, according to a new report from Willis Towers Watson.

On Monday, the firm released its report on the world’s 300 largest pension funds for 2016. The results showed the assets of the largest funds rose by 6.1 per cent in 2016 to reach $15.7 trillion. Canada accounted for 5.4 per cent of total pension fund assets, up from 5.3 per cent in 2015. As for Britain, its share fell to 4.8 per cent last year from 5.4 per cent in 2015.

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As part of the report, Willis Towers Watson has listed the top 20 pension funds around the world. The list includes two familiar Canadian names:

1. Government pension investment, Japan

2. Government pension fund, Norway

3. Federal retirement thrift, United States

4. National pension, South Korea

5. ABP, Netherlands

6. National social security, China

7. California public employees, United States

8. Canada Pension Plan, Canada

9. Central provident fund, Singapore

10. PFZW, Netherlands

11. California state teachers, United States

12. New York state common, United States

13. Local government officials, Japan

14. New York City retirement, United States

15. Employees provident fund, Malaysia

16. Florida state board, United States

17. Texas teachers, United States

18. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Canada

19. GEPF, South Africa

20. ATP, Denmark

The Canada Pension Plan fund ranks fifth on the list of the largest sovereign pension funds. According to Willis Towers Watson, the increase in assets for the 300 largest funds was an improvement on the decline of 3.4 per cent in 2015. Despite the improvement, Roger Unwin, global head of investment content at Willis Towers Watson, noted the continuing challenges.

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“The search for attractively priced assets at acceptable risk continues to be a driving force in shaping the fortunes of pension funds and their ability to meet respective missions and objectives,” he said.

“This is increasingly hard and reduces the shine from a year in which, the largest asset owners have been able to achieve superior growth in this year’s figures. Central to this result has been the ability of leading asset owners to adapt to the ever-changing investment environment, through improvements in governance and the ability to learn from their peers. The desire of asset owners to implement best-practice and sound governance across their organization has strengthened and will be a key factor in their future success.”

As for the breakdown of pension fund holdings, defined benefit funds accounted for 65.5 per cent of total assets in the ranking, which was down slightly from 65.9 per cent in 2015. Defined benefit assets increased by 5.6 per cent in 2016, compared to a 9.6 per cent rise for defined contribution plans. The public sector accounted for 40 per cent of assets, followed by sovereign funds at 28 per cent, corporate plans at 18 per cent and private independent ones at 14 per cent. A total of 28 new funds have entered the ranking over the last five years, with the United States contributing a net of 13 additions during that time period. Canada saw a net loss of one fund from the ranking.

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Here’s a list of the 18 Canadian funds (with assets in millions and in U.S. dollars, along with their ranking) included as part of the top 300 pension plans:

8.  Canada Pension Plan,  Canada,  $235,790 
18.  Ontario Teachers’,  Canada,  $130,642 
54.  Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System,  Canada,  $63,516 
57.  Public Service Pension Plan,  Canada,  $63,046 
64.  Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan,  Canada,  $52,354 
74.  Quebec government and public,  Canada,  $47,565 
81.  Quebec Pension Plan,  Canada,  $46,276 
113.  B.C. Municipal Pension Plan,  Canada,  $34,526 
143.  Local Authorities Pension Board,  Canada,  $28,070 
205.  B.C. Public Service Pension Plan,  Canada,  $19,556 
214.  B.C. Teachers’ Pension Plan,  Canada,  $18,996 
224.  Ontario Pension Board,  Canada,  $18,142 
231.  Canada Post Corp.,  Canada,  $17,226 
233.  Hydro-Québec,  Canada,  $17,066 
265.  Quebec construction industry,  Canada,  $15,398 
266.  Bell Canada,  Canada,  $15,301 
280.  Air Canada,  Canada,  $14,464
286.  OPSEU Pension Trust,  Canada,  $14,171 

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on
See all comments Recent Comments

Jean-Claude Ménard:

Canadian Forces Pension Plan should be in the top 300. If the Federal Public Service Pension Plan is at $63,046 in $US dollars, then Canadian Forces are at approximately $17.1 Billion US as of 31 March 2016.

Wednesday, September 13 at 10:05 am | Reply

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