Group RRSPs holding strong in the face of economic turmoil: Desjardins

Montreal, February 25, 2009 – The 2009 RRSP season is almost over and many group retirement savings plan members are getting ready to make their final contribution for the 2008 taxation year. Despite the hard economic times, Desjardins Financial Security’s January 2009 RRSP campaign indicators show that Desjardins Financial Security plan members contributed slightly more to their RRSPs than a year earlier and that the anticipated rush toward safer investment vehicles, like guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), is not going to happen.

A panic averted

In spite of the significant number of lay-offs announced at the beginning of the year and the fact that many major employers were not able to pay bonuses to their employees for the first time in many years, the percentage of RRSP contributions as compared to total contributions, which was 36 per cent in January 2008, rose to 44 per cent in January 2009.

“Since the markets were performing so poorly at the end of 2008, we were expecting more calls in the first few months of 2009 from unhappy or disappointed clients, but this wasn’t the case. Most of the people who contact us want to be reassured about their investment choices,” said Fran�ois M. Desjardins, a team lead in Desjardins Financial Security’s Group Retirement Savings Customer Contact Centre. “This year, we’re more educators than service providers to members. Our clients are more interested in knowing our take on the current situation.”

Is a GIC in hand better than two funds in the bush?

In 2007, the percentage of deposits invested in GICs divided by total deposits invested in RRSPs was 7.4 per cent. In 2008, it was 8 per cent. In January 2008, of the total deposits made, 8.1 per cent were invested in GICs, whereas in January 2009, it was 7.5 per cent.

“Even though 48 per cent of Canadians told us last fall in our 2008 Rethink Retirement survey that capital guarantees would now be a very important factor when they choose savings and investment products, the members I see every day have adopted a more rational approach,” indicated Karrina Dusablon, Director, Education Centre and Global Management Group Retirement Savings. “They aren’t necessarily ready to trade higher performance potential for a bit less risk. For many of them, retirement is still very far off and they’re prepared to wait until economic conditions improve.”

About Desjardins Financial Security

Desjardins Financial Security is a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, and specializes in providing life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products to individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians rely on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial well-being. Desjardins Financial Security employs nearly 3,900 people and administers over $22 billion in assets from offices in several cities across the country, including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montr�al, Qu�bec, L�vis, Halifax and St. John’s. For more information, visit our website at