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Pension Funds

Canadian pension fund assets jump 7.2% in quarter

Canadian corporate and public pension plans in the RBC Investor & Treasury Services universe had a strong first quarter, with an overall return of 7.2% gross of fees for the quarter ended March 31.

It was a strong rally following a poor fourth quarter that saw a gross loss of 3.5% in RBC's All Plan universe, the first negative quarter after 10 straight positive quarters. The first quarter of 2018 had a gross return of 0.2%.

Canadian equities bounced back strongly in the first quarter, with a gross return of 12.4%, compared with the -10.6% return in the fourth quarter. Global equities also posted very strong returns at a gross 10% compared with -7.8% for the fourth quarter.

Canadian fixed income returned a gross 5.6% for the first quarter — driven by strong performance from long-term bonds in particular — compared with 1.8% in the fourth quarter.

David Linds, managing director, head of Canadian asset servicing at RBC Investor & Treasury Services, said in a news release that managers will need to remain vigilant as they head toward the midyear mark.

"Many of the underlying concerns, including trade wars, slowing global economic growth as well as ongoing geopolitical unrest, are still very relevant and will force asset managers to re-examine their portfolios and risk exposure," Mr. Linds said.