$445 million returned to members and the community, including $317 million in member dividends, an increase of $64 million or 25.3%
Lévis, February 26, 2020 - For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, Desjardins Group, Canada's leading financial cooperative group, recorded surplus earnings before member dividends of $2,598 million, up $272 million or 11.7% from fiscal 2018. This result includes a gain related to the sale of the entire portfolio of merchants receiving Desjardins Group services under the Monetico brand. Recall that results for fiscal 2018 benefited from the gain related to the transaction involving Qtrade Canada Inc. and the interest in Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P. Adjusted surplus earnings( ) were therefore up $92 million or 4.2%. This increase stemmed from continued growth in the caisse network and in payment and financing activities, offset by investment gains in the Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance segment that were smaller than in 2018. In property and casualty insurance, lower investment income was partly offset by a slightly favourable change in claims experience, which nevertheless remained high. Additional factors compared to 2018 include a reduction in provisions related to the investment portfolio and the impact of changes to the post-retirement benefit plan, which had a favourable impact on non-interest expenses. Concerning the privacy breach, expenses related to costs incurred and the establishment of a provision for the implementation of Desjardins Identity Protection totalled $108 million in 2019.
The amount returned to members and the community totalled $445 million, including a $317 million provision for member dividends, $87 million in sponsorships, donations and scholarships, and $41 million in Desjardins Member Advantages. There was also $40 million in commitments related to the $100 million regional development fund.
At the end of the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, surplus earnings before member dividends stood at $935 million, up $357 million or 61.8%. This result includes a gain related to the sale of the entire portfolio of merchants receiving Desjardins Group services under the Monetico brand. Adjusted surplus earnings( ) were therefore up $48 million or 8.3%. This increase stemmed mainly from growth in activities.
"Desjardins's higher surplus earnings, increasing membership, growing member dividends and strong capital base are all evidence of its strength, resilience and growth potential," said President and CEO Guy Cormier.
"I am very proud of the remarkable results of the past year and, above all, of the efforts and perseverance of all Desjardins Group employees, who were able to offer relevant solutions to our members and clients. Once again, I want to thank our members and clients for their solidarity and trust in Desjardins."
Giving back to the community
In addition to the sustained commitment of the caisses in the communities they serve, here are some of the other ways that Desjardins made a positive difference in people's lives since the third quarter.
• Over $50 million a year to support young people through youth initiatives in Quebec and Ontario communities. These initiatives contribute to the well-being of young people, promote their inclusion and nurture their talent.
• Partner of Operation Red Nose for the 36th year. Together, we encourage responsible consumption and road safety. The money raised goes to youth projects, a cause that's important to Desjardins.
• Desjardins was ranked by Mediacorp as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People, due in part to its Young Intern Officer program and Young Executives Network.
Last November, the cooperative world lost Claude Béland, one of its most ardent supporters. For 13 years (from 1987 to 2000) he steered Desjardins toward its destiny. Claude advocated for a fairer and more cohesive society during and even after his career at Desjardins Group.
Desjardins is constantly innovating to meet the needs of its members and clients. Here are just a few examples of the financial group's initiatives and the recognition it has received for its expertise.
• As announced on November 1, 2019, Desjardins Capital plans to double its assets under management between now and 2024, from $2.5 billion to $5 billion, in order to support businesses in their succession and expansion projects.
• The Desjardins Québec Balanced Fund (Class A units) won a Lipper Fund Award in the 10-year "Neutral Balanced Fund" category. These awards highlight funds that have excelled relative to their peers in delivering consistently strong risk-adjusted performance. Since 2007, Desjardins has won 16 Lipper Fund Awards in 5 different categories.
• Wealth management advisory services was reorganized to form one big team, with collaboration among the Signature Service, securities brokerage, Private Wealth Management and online brokerage teams.
Source: Desjardins Website