Canadian corporate and public pension plans in the RBC Investor & Treasury Services universe saw a median gross decline of 7.1% in the first quarter, the steepest decline since 2008.
The decline, the result of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent financial market sell-offs, as well as the plunge in commodity prices, according to a news release Wednesday.
The quarterly drop is the lowest median return for the universe since the median gross return of -8.2% for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2008.
"It has been an exceptionally difficult period for Canadian pension plans to navigate, as the markets have been experiencing an unprecedented amount of volatility across asset classes," said David Linds, head of Canadian asset servicing at RBC Investor & Treasury Services, in the news release.
"However, the substantial monetary and fiscal policy response from governments across the globe gives us room for optimism," he said. "While it's difficult to speculate on what may happen over the short term, we hope these measures will lead to some reawakening of our economic growth in the near future."