Financial Well-Being and Economic Prosperity
Financial services, the mainstay of our business, make a positive contribution to society by providing financial security to virtually millions of people. In short, we protect and improve the long-term financial position of individuals, and offer programs to help them manage their healthcare needs.
A 2014 study released by the Conference Board of Canada, Boosting Retirement Readiness and the Economy Through Financial Advice, found that investors who work with a financial advisor have a higher savings rate on average than those who do not. For example, over a 15-year period, households working with an advisor had 2.7 times the assets of a household without a financial advisor. The study highlights the value advisors add by encouraging more disciplined saving and investment behaviour.
With more than 30 million customer relationships in Canada, the United States and Europe, our financial services companies represent a positive force in society by enabling financial security through life and health insurance, retirement savings programs, and a suite of investment products.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Financial Security and Retirement
In 2015 alone, Great-West Lifeco’s Canadian operations helped more than 40,000 families cope with loss, paying out more than $2 billion in life insurance claims, provided income for over 75,000 people who became disabled and could no longer work, and made over $800 million of annuity payments, helping Canadians fund their retirement with a secure income stream. Also in 2015, Great-West Life held $95 billion in retirement and other investment holdings for Canadians and paid $8.6 billion in benefits.
As investment managers, IGM Financial’s group companies contribute to the economy through the efficient allocation and professional management of investment funds – across countries, industries and asset classes. Their largest impact comes from responsibly managing their business and generating long-term value and profitability, which enables them to distribute economic value to their many shareholders and other stakeholders in Canada. Through its advisors, IGM Financial helps Canadians build an integrated financial plan to meet their short- and long-term goals. Financial advisors are trained to recommend products that are suitable for each client’s individual situation.
IGM Financial is making a difference for Canadians in all age groups and income levels – including those in lower income ranges who were not financially secure when they sought help from an advisor. IGM Financial also provides mutual funds at very low investment minimums, making it possible to provide much-needed access to financial products and services to all households, regardless of income or wealth levels.
Launched in 2013 to help employers encourage their employees to take advantage of their workplace savings plans, Great-West Life’s smartPATH 2.0 interactive online resource was expanded in 2015 to reach individuals across Canada. Offering free online learning for all stages of retirement planning through games, calculators, videos and text-based learning, the website makes retirement planning easier.
Great-West Lifeco also offers product solutions to meet the needs of workers who do not have registered retirement savings plans.
Our group companies’ commitment to improving financial literacy also represents a means to further expand their positive impact on the financial security of their clients.
2015 marked the second year of Great-West Lifeco’s commitment as national sponsor of CPA Canada’s suite of outreach programs. Through this support, it helps meet the financial literacy needs of community organizations, underserved groups like new Canadians and Indigenous Peoples, post-secondary students and individuals of all ages.
Investors Group’s ongoing collaboration with the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) continued to make a real contribution in 2015 to improving financial literacy – of our youth and their parents. The company continued to support CFEE's Building Futures program, which helps provinces integrate financial education into the core curriculum for grades 4 to 10.
Investments to Spur Growth
Through its investment activities, Great-West Lifeco provides long-term capital, contributing to economic growth, and helping Canadians reach their financial goals. The company’s commercial mortgages, public bond and private placement investments provide opportunities for businesses and governments to help create employment, fund research and development, and support infrastructure, healthcare and renewable energy projects. In 2015, their Canadian bond group invested more than $1.9 billion in infrastructure, including investments in green energy projects, airports, port terminals, hospitals, transit, highways, utilities, schools and universities. They also funded more than $2 billion in new private debt and commercial mortgages across Canada.
Great-West Lifeco also provides a suite of investment offerings, including socially responsible investing mandates, giving clients a meaningful way to help ensure their investments promote a higher level of environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and corporate governance.