Canadian pension returns post slight gain in Q1 2018; RBC Investor & Treasury Services

Toronto, May 10, 2018 – Canadian defined benefit pension plans remained in positive territory in Q1 2018, according to the $650 billion RBC Investor & Treasury Services All Plan Universe – the industry’s most comprehensive universe of Canadian pension plans. Q1 2018 returns were 0.2 per cent, down from Q4 2017 returns of 4.4 per cent. Pension returns were 2.9 per cent in Q1 2017.

Canadian equities were greatly impacted during the quarter, posting a -3.9 per cent loss, compared to gains of 4.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent in Q4 2017 and Q1 2017 respectively. The TSX Composite Index followed a similar trend, posting a -4.5 per cent loss during the quarter compared to a 4.5 per cent gain in Q4 2017 and 2.4 per cent in Q1 2017.

Global equities retreated, returning 2 per cent in Q1 2018, a decrease from 6.1 per cent a quarter earlier. The MSCI World Index returned 1.6 per cent in Q1 2018, down from 5.7 per cent in Q4 2017 and 5.8 per cent in Q1 2017.

“The first quarter of 2018 was full of instability and volatility, with Canadian equities taking the biggest hit,” said Ryan Silva, Director, Head of Pension and Insurance Segments, Global Client Coverage RBC Investor & Treasury Services. “The health care and energy sectors, uncertainty around NAFTA trade negotiations as well as potential interest rate hikes weighed down the TSX Composite Index and other key indices. Geo-political concerns, coupled with international trade and interest rate anxieties also impacted global equity returns. Asset managers should remain vigilant to ongoing volatility for the remainder of the year, and maintain a diversified portfolio to actively manage their risk exposure.”

The NAFTA trade negotiations and potential interest rate hikes also impacted additional returns. Canadian fixed income assets posted a small return of 0.1 per cent in Q1 2018, compared to 2.2 per cent in Q4 2017 while the FTSE TMX Universe Canadian Bond Index returned 0.1 per cent in Q1 2018, down from 2 percent in Q4 2017.

The Canadian dollar was the worst performing major currency during Q1 2018. In this time, the U.S. dollar appreciated versus the Canadian dollar by 2.9 per cent due to the uncertainty around trade talks and its impact on the Canadian economy and its monetary policy.


Period Return (%) Period Return (%)
Q1 2018 0.2 Q1 2016 0.0
Q4 2017 4.4 Q4 2015 3.1
Q3 2017 0.4 Q3 2015 -2.0
Q2 2017 1.4 Q2 2015 -1.6
Q1 2017 2.9 Q1 2015 6.6
Q4 2016 0.5 Q4 2014 2.7
Q3 2016 4.2 Q3 2014 1.1
Q2 2016 2.9 Q2 2014 3.0


For more information, please contact:

Briana D’Archi
+1 416 955 5658

Ben Adams
+44 (0)20 7653 4109


About RBC Investor & Treasury Services

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