The pension plan for federal government workers lost 22.7 per cent in the latest fiscal year, but paid partial bonuses to its top executives for meeting their individual objectives for the year.
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board reported Thursday it was buffeted by the financial crisis that began last year, seeing its assets fall by $5.1-billion to $33.8-billion as of March 31, 2009, down from $38.9-billion a year earlier.
The pension manager said its equity portfolio lost more than 30 per cent of its value last year, while its real estate holdings were down almost 17 per cent. PSP Investments said its bond holdings offset the losses, however, with government bonds earning a 19.4-per-cent return for the year.
“We experienced exceptionally difficult financial and economic times in Canada and around the world over the last year,” chief executive officer Gordon Fyfe said in a statement.
PSP Investments is a Crown corporation that invests pension money for the public service as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Forces, and the Reserve Force.
The fund’s annual report, released Thursday, said Mr. Fyfe’s compensation totalled $1.42-million in fiscal 2009, up 11 per cent from $1.28-million last year. His pay included a $485,000 base salary, an annual bonus of $189,122, a deferred incentive plan payment of $611,100, benefits and other compensation worth $35,876, and accrued pension benefits worth $98,500.
Fund chairman Paul Cantor said that due to underperformance in 2009, executives did not receive short-term or long-term bonuses allocated for fund performance. But he said the board of directors decided to pay the portion of short-term bonuses based on achieving individual objectives.
Mr. Cantor added PSP Investments introduced a new long-term incentive plan in fiscal 2009, which is based on four-year investment performance. It is similar in structure to the four-year design at many other large pension managers.
“The deferred incentive payments in 2009 reflect the strong fund performance achieved over the four-year period from 2004 until 2007,” Mr. Cantor said in a statement in the fund’s annual report.
The new incentive program means the poor performance in 2009 will continue to affect bonus levels until 2012. As well, PSP Investments said base salaries for
managers were not increased for fiscal 2010.