Canadian corporate and public pension plans in the RBC Investor & Treasury Services universe returned a gross 14% in 2019, the second highest annual return over the past 10 years.
The gain for the year, more than making up for the plans' negative gross return in 2018, was due to an upsurge in both Canadian and global equity markets, according to a news release Wednesday.
Plans in the universe returned -0.7% in 2018. The highest annual return over the past 10 years was 14.2% for 2013.
Returns for 2019 saw positive gains in every quarter: 2% in the fourth quarter, 1.7% in the third, 2.7% in the second and 7.2% in the first. The four positive quarters followed a -3.5% return for the fourth quarter of 2018, which brought the year down, and was the first with negative returns since the third quarter of 2015, when plans lost 2%.
Especially strong Canadian equity and global equity gross returns drove the results, returning 21.4% and 20.7%, respectively; for the fourth quarter they returned a respective 3.1% and 6.8%. Canadian fixed income returned a gross 10.3% for the year.