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RBC: Canadian pension funds post fourth straight quarter of positive returns

Canadian corporate and public pension plans returned an overall 2.9% in the first quarter of 2017, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of positive returns, and up from 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016, said RBC Investor & Treasury Services' quarterly survey.

“Canadian pension plan returns, led by strength in Canadian and global equities, are off to a good start in 2017; however vigilance is still required,” said James Rausch, head of client coverage, Canada, in a news release on the results. “While ongoing business investment in Canada could spur growth, asset managers will undoubtedly be focusing on maintaining a diversified portfolio and actively managing their risk exposure in the period ahead given evolving macroeconomic and political forces around the world.”

The pension funds' global and Canadian equity holdings returned 6.2% and 2.3%, respectively, in the first quarter, compared to 3% and 5.7% in the previous quarter. Canadian bond holdings returned 1.4% in the quarter, up from -3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The RBC pension fund universe covers more than C$650 billion ($473.8 billion) in assets combined.