Canadian defined benefit plans posted positive investment returns in the fourth quarter, slightly better than the prior quarter, Northern Trust pension universe data found.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the median plan in the Northern Trust Canada Universe returned 1.9%, up from 1.6% in the third quarter, according to the findings released Thursday.
Canadian DB plans benefited from a particularly strong uptick in equity market returns later in the quarter.
"Despite a year plagued with negative headlines, fueled with uncertainty and low expectations, Canadian pension plans navigated through the turbulence and continued on a journey of positive returns," said Arti Sharma, president and CEO of Northern Trust Canada, a news release. "Equity markets closed 2019 in a strong position, realizing solid double-digit gains for the year."
The universe wound up 2019 with a 13.6% return for the year, a significant improvement over the 1% median loss for the previous year.
Equity markets for the fourth quarter overcame geopolitical tension thanks to "favorable monetary policy, initial progress on U.S.-China trade negotiations, as well as potential clarity on the path to a Brexit resolution," the news release said.