Polymer notes 20131107

The new polymer bank notes are pictured. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Canadians are holding more than a trillion dollars in mutual funds for the first time ever, according to the Investment Funds Institute of Canada.

IFIC said Wednesday that assets under management were $1.01 trillion as of Jan. 31, an increase of 16 per cent or $140.1 billion year over year.

Sales of long-term funds totalled $6.25 billion in January, up from $6.286 billion a year earlier.

Last month, net sales of equity funds amounted to $1.59 billion and balanced funds added $4.72 billion. Bond funds saw net redemptions of $567 million, while specialty funds reported net sales of $502.9 million.

"The importance of this milestone is the increase in wealth it represents for the roughly 4.6 million Canadian households that choose to save for their financial goals through mutual funds," IFIC president and CEO Joanne De Laurentiis said in a statement.

"Of the $986 billion increase since 1990, approximately 54 per cent was generated by net sales, while 46 per cent is the increase in the total value (market effect) of those savings," she said.

Mutual funds account for about 26 per cent of Canadians' financial wealth, according to IFIC figures.