The Performance of the Canada Pension Plan
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on June 11, 2010
The Canadian Pension Plan is very important to many people because it serves as a good chunk of their monthly income when they retire. To ensure that the Canada Pension Plan always has money in it, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board oversees the plan to ensure that it keeps growing to accommodate the growing population of Canada. Under the direction of the Finance Minister at the time, Paul Martin, the CPP Investment Board was created in 1997 as an independent organization that monitors the funds in the CPP and invests them. Every three months it reports on its performance and a professional team oversees the operation of aspects of the CPP fund, while also planning out the direction of the investments.
In order to provide more money to those who will be retiring, especially baby boomers, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board decided to use 45 percent of its assets to invest in securities located outside of Canada, including in Western Europe and the United States. The Investment Board has also been investing heavily in emerging markets because, as the board states, Canada as one market cannot accommodate the future growth of the pension plan.
According to most estimates, to sustain the population in 2020 that will be using the Canada Pension Plan, the CPP must grow at least 4.1 percent per year. By 2010, the CPP Investment Board had grown to $147 billion. The next 40 years also see some benchmarks for the CPP Reserve Fund that the CPP Investment Board hopes to achieve to accommodate a growing population:
- 2015: $200 billion
- 2030: $592 billion
- 2050: $1.55 trillion
The performance of the CPP has varied in the past few years, as has the CPP Reserve Fund, which grows based on the contributions by Canadians. In the past few years, the CPP Reserve Fund has grown and fallen over the years, seeing a rate of return that was highly fluctuating:
- March 2003 Total Value: $55.6 billion Rate of Return: -1.1 percent
- March 2004 Total Value: $70.5 billion Rate of Return: 10.3 percent
- March 2005 Total Value: $81.3 billion Rate of Return: 8.5 percent
- March 2006 Total Value: $98.0 billion Rate of Return: 15.5 percent
- March 2007 Total Value: $116.6 billion Rate of Return: 12.9 percent
- March 2008 Total Value: $122.7 billion Rate of Return: -.29 percent
- March 2009 Total Value: $105.5 billion Rate of Return: -18.6 percent
The large fall in 2009 was because of the recession that hit the world due to the credit crisis that began in the United States. However, the increase in 2010 was expected to be roughly seven percent, which would allow the CPP Reserve Fund to increase for the first time since 2008.
The Canadian Pension Plan needs to grow at a continuous rate to ensure that there is enough money available for the growing retiring population in Canada. With millions of Baby Boomers retiring and not enough of subsequent generations to prop up the Pension Plan, the Pension Plan needs to grow to ensure everyone has enough money when they retire using the Pension Plan. As long as there are no more years like 2009, it should continue to grow to meet those needs.