Workplace pension assets finished last year on a positive note, but assets were still down for the year overall, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The national statistical agency reported that the market value of pension fund assets rose by 1.0% in the fourth quarter of 2022, but assets dropped by 5.1% on the year, representing a decline of $114.8 billion.
The largest asset category, equities, drove the drop in pension assets, as the market value of equities fell from $908 billion at the start of the year to $810 billion by the end of the year.
In particular, the value of public equities dropped from almost $620 billion to $495 billion, StatsCan reported. Some of the weakness in public equities was offset by private equity assets, which rose on the year.
The value of pension funds’ infrastructure holdings and real estate assets also increased during the year.
At the same time, the value of bond assets was down too — dropping from $608 billion at the start of 2022 to $539 billion by the end of the year.
The decline in the market value of pension assets was driven by domestic assets, the report said, with the value of pension funds’ domestic holdings dropping by 8.2% on the year.
Foreign assets were down more modestly, declining by 1.9% in the year, StatsCan said.
The agency also noted that pension funds posted positive net income of $17.9 billion in the fourth quarter, as revenues rose and expenditures dropped.
However, for the year, total pension revenue was down 35.0% and expenditures were up by 0.6%.