Piggybank With Eyeglasses And Calculator On Wooden Table, TFSA, RRSP

Employer pension plans saw strong growth in the fourth quarter, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The market value of employer pensions rose by $100 billion in Q4 to $2.2 trillion — up 4.7% from the previous quarter and 6.6% year over year.

Public sector pensions saw the strongest growth, with assets increasing by $86.6 billion, up 5.9% from the previous quarter and 6.5% year over year.

Private sector pensions, meanwhile, saw assets grow 2.1% from the previous quarter and 7% from Q4 2020.

The value of foreign investments outpaced domestic investments in Q4, StatsCan reported.

Foreign investments grew 9.5% in the quarter, reaching $781 billion thanks to strong returns in foreign equities (+18.4%) and pooled assets (+6.2%).

Domestic assets grew 2.3% during the quarter, buoyed by positive returns in real estate (+4%) and also pooled assets (+2%).

Pension contributions were up 11.1% in the quarter, with employee contributions (+13.9%) outpacing employer contributions (+9.5%).

Total pension expenditures were up 8.7% year over year, reaching $29.9 billion in Q4. This was driven largely by withdrawals (up 182.1%) and pension payments (up 9.2%), which together accounted for 83.3% of expenditures in the quarter.