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Canadian pension plans rebound in first quarter with 3% return — report

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Canadian pension plans returned a median 3% in the first quarter vs. a median 1.2% loss in the fourth quarter 2016, according to Northern Trust Canada.

Equity and fixed-income performance led the gains in the first quarter, according to a news release from Northern Trust Canada. However, the median global equity return of 5.3% among plans in the universe underperformed the MSCI World index return by 0.5 percentage points.

The median fixed-income return was 1.32%, compared to the FTSE TMX Universe Canadian bond index returns of 1.24%.

"Canadian pension funds had a good start to 2017 after a minor setback in the fourth quarter of last year," said Arti Sharma, president and CEO of Northern Trust Canada. "Over the past year (ended March 31), pension funds gained a healthy 9.5%, bolstered by stronger stock market performance."

The Northern Trust Canada universe tracks the performance of 32 Canadian DB plans that are clients of Northern Trust asset servicing. The plans have a combined of C$50.7 billion ($37.1 billion) in assets.