The market value of assets held by Canadian trusteed pension funds fell to $1.77 trillion in the third quarter of 2017, down from $1.8 trillion in the second quarter, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

While the figure was down 0.6 per cent compared to the previous quarter, it was up three per cent from the third quarter of 2016.

Pension fund investments held in mortgages saw the largest increase in the third quarter, rising 6.8 per cent to $25.6 billion, while real estate investments fell 4.5 per cent to $149.9 billion. The value of Canadian bond holdings decreased 2.5 per cent.

Read: Assets held by trusteed pension funds down 1% in second quarter: Statistics Canada

Foreign investments were up 0.2 per cent to $613.5 billion in the third quarter, a year-over-year increase of 7.7 per cent, while foreign stock investments rose 0.3 per cent to $287 billion in the third quarter. Meanwhile, foreign bond holdings declined 2.4 per cent to $69.4 billion.

Pension fund revenue increased 7.4 per cent in the third quarter, following a one per cent decline in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada. And expenditures by pension funds fell 32.2 per cent to $20.6 billion during the same time period, following an increase of 44 per cent in the second quarter. Pension payments decreased by 2.5 per cent, representing 76.6 per cent of total expenditures. 

In the third quarter of 2017, more than 6.2 million Canadian workers belonged to employer-sponsored pension plans. Of this group, 5.2 million (or 82.7 per cent) belonged to plans with assets managed by trusteed funds, while the remainder had assets managed by insurance companies, noted Statistics Canada.

Read: Pension wealth in employer-based plans rose at slower pace in 2016: Statistics Canada

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