Group RRSPs holding strong in the face of economic turmoil

    MONTREAL, Feb. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - 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 François 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 Guaranteed Investment
Certificates (GIC) 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
    "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, Montréal, Québec, Lévis,
Halifax and St. John's. For more information, visit our website at

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Twomey, Desjardins Financial Security,
(416) 926-2700, extension 2015, Toll free: 1-877-906-5551, extension 2015,; Virtual pressroom:; Isabelle Truchon, Desjardins
Financial Security, (514) 350-8700, extension 8668, Toll free: 1-877-750-8700,
extension 8668,; Virtual newsroom:

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