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. Our group companies protect and improve the long-term financial position of individuals and offer programs to help them manage their healthcare needs. By the very nature of our group companies, our activities are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and create social and economic prosperity.
With more than 33 million customer relationships globally, 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.
Having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make informed financial decisions is critical to the financial well-being of our clients. Through the innovative products and services provided by our operating subsidiaries Great-West Lifeco and IGM Financial, and by the fintech companies in which we invest, such as Wealthsimple, we are helping clients of all backgrounds plan for their long-term financial security and success.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Financial Security and Retirement
In 2021, Great-West Lifeco paid $47.3 billion in net policyholder benefits, dividends and experience refunds to customers globally, including $8.9 billion in benefits paid in Canada. Great-West Lifeco’s Canadian insurance companies helped families cope with loss, paying out more than $1.7 billion in life insurance benefits in 2021 and providing income for over 110,000 people who became disabled and could no longer work. Their participating life insurance products delivered over $1.4 billion of policyholder dividends. They also helped approximately 27,800 employers provide benefits plans and more than 10,500 employers offer retirement savings plans to their employees. In addition, they made $947 million of annuity payments, helping Canadians fund their retirement with a secure income stream.
Building financial confidence and well-being is at the core of IGM Financial’s business. They believe that providing Canadians with the knowledge and resources they need to understand and feel confident about their personal finances will help them build a better financial future for themselves, and in turn improve other aspects of their lives. Across their operating companies, the company builds financial confidence by sharing expertise and relevant news, tools and resources with financial advisors, clients and communities.
IG Empower your Tomorrow works to remove barriers to financial confidence among four traditionally underserved groups: Indigenous peoples, newcomers, seniors and youth. This platform is brought to life through IG Wealth Management advisors, national partnerships, community seminars, events and educational materials. 2021 was the first official year of the IG Empower Your Tomorrow Indigenous Commitment, which will dedicate $5 million over five years to support programs and initiatives to further the financial confidence of Indigenous communities in Canada. As part of this commitment, the company is partnering with Prosper Canada to deliver customized financial literacy and education training. Also, knowing that learning the financial systems of a new country can be daunting, IGM Financial works with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) to provide financial education in newcomers’ first language. Support is also offered to seniors through financial planning workshops and webinars designed to guide them through financial considerations in collaboration with national partners, including the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
In October 2021, Canada Life surveyed more than 1,500 Canadians and found that only 41 per cent claimed high confidence in their financial knowledge. The company hopes to change that by offering services like KOHO to its customers. With KOHO, customers get a prepaid reloadable Visa card that, unlike a traditional credit card, draws from money that’s already theirs, allowing for more mindful spending and saving.
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.
Canada Life is the national development sponsor of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)’s award-winning financial literacy program, which draws upon the knowledge and expertise of more than 7,000 passionate CPA volunteers to deliver objective and free financial literacy sessions that help Canadians, from children to seniors, to make informed decisions and achieve their goals. In 2021, more than 205,000 people engaged with the program in various ways. CPA Canada notes that women live longer than men and are more likely to live alone at the end of their lives, earn less money over their lifetime, and have less financial knowledge and confidence in their personal financial capability. Therefore, as national development sponsor, Canada Life has focused on empowering women to take control of their finances. With the company’s support, CPA Canada is developing resources focused on educating women to form practical financial decisions through the various stages of life. In 2022, the company’s network of Canada Life CPA Champions will deliver sessions in London, Toronto and Winnipeg. Moreover, in 2021 Canada Life sponsored the first day of CPA Canada’s virtual financial literacy conference, Mastering Money. More than 27,000 participants and financial leaders discussed everything from managing credit to understanding why financial confidence and wellness are essential to how individuals can plan to chase their dreams.
IG Wealth Management’s ongoing collaboration with the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) continued to make a real contribution in 2021 to improving financial literacy of youth and their parents. IG Empower Your Tomorrow workshops were delivered in a new virtual format in 2021, with over 80 workshops delivered to more than 7,300 seniors, youth, parents and teachers in sessions during the year. Given the success, sessions will continue to be offered virtually and, when circumstances permit, in-person going forward.
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 2021, the company funded more than $2.9 billion in new private debt and commercial mortgages across Canada.
One of our alternative asset investment platforms, Sagard, is also committed to supporting the business building process. Through its Canadian private equity business (Sagard Private Equity – Canada) the company hopes to build a private equity franchise that will be recognized as the partner of choice for Canadian mid-market entrepreneurs and management on their quest to become market leaders. Meanwhile, through Sagard Private Equity – Europe, the company invests in small and middle market opportunities focused on transformational growth companies in Europe. Moreover, in November 2021 Sagard announced the successful first closing of Sagard Private Equity Canada’s Canadian mid-market private equity fund with commitments totaling CA$200 million.