The RBC Investor & Treasury Services unit of the Royal Bank of Canada has published its quarterly figures for the division’s All Plan Universe – data on Canadian defined benefit (DB) pension plans and their returns in the first quarter of 2023.

According to the All Plan Universe, DB plans in Canada generated a median return of four per cent in the first quarter of 2023, building on the fourth quarter 2022 returns of 3.8 per cent.

“Despite significant market instability around the world, pension plans managed to produce positive returns,” says RBC Investor & Treasury Services’ managing director and global head of business development, David Giannone.

Foreign equities boosted returns the most, gaining 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2023. The MSCI World Index, meanwhile, returned 7.6 per cent during the same period. Canadian equities returned 4.2 per cent in the quarter, while the TSX Composite Index rose by 4.6 per cent. Finally, in the first quarter of 2023, Canadian fixed income pension plan assets returned 3.7 per cent.

Comparatively, in the first quarter of 2022 the median return overall was a decline of 5.5 per cent.