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For fiscal 2012, Desjardins Group recorded surplus earnings of approximately $1.6 million, similar to amounts posted in 2011.

Return on equity was 10.4%, a dip from the 12.2% recorded in 2011. It says the decrease resulted from an increase in equity following the issuance of $1.0 billion of capital shares in the Federation and growth in retained earnings.

“I’m very satisfied with the financial performance of our cooperative financial group in 2012,” says Monique F. Leroux, chair of the board, president and CEO.

She adds, “We worked on improving our service offer throughout the year, both in the personal services and institutional services segment, [as well as] in wealth management and insurance.”

“We also held the first International Summit of Cooperatives, allowing us to demonstrate the major role played by cooperatives in our economies.”

Operating income stood at $11,300 million, up $364 million, or 3.3%, from 2011. Much of this increase was the result of higher net premiums, made up of premiums on life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance and annuity premiums.

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It also includes a $109 million contribution from Western Financial Group, with net interest income falling $73 million or 1.9% because of the ongoing low interest rate environment and strong competition in the market.

Lastly, other operating income grew $162 million, or 7.5%, primarily due to commission income generated by Western Financial Group Inc.

Investment income reached $1,178 million at the end of the year, down $1,091 million compared to fiscal 2011. The decline was fully offset by a decrease in the related actuarial provisions, however.

Expenses related to claims, benefits, annuities and changes in insurance and investment contract liabilities came to $4,397 million, falling $895 million or 16.9% over 2011. This was primarily due to declines in actuarial provisions included under insurance and investment contract liabilities.

Desjardins Group’s approach to distributing surplus earnings seeks a healthy balance between development and capitalization.

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Originally published on Advisor.ca