Canadian pensions see further declines

Survey shows slip of 1.9 per cent in first quarter

Canadian pension plans lost ground for the third consecutive quarter, as financial woes depressed equity markets worldwide, according to a survey by RBC Dexia Investor Services in Toronto. Within the $340 billion RBC Dexia universe, Canadian pension funds slipped 1.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2008, pushing losses down 2.7 per cent for the latest 12-month period.

Global equity was the hardest hit asset class although a weaker loonie softened the blow for unhedged Canadian-based investors, said RBC.

“The MSCI World Index plunged 11.9 per cent in local currency terms. Performance nearly matched the index, but Canadian pensions lost only 5.5 per cent once exchange rates are taken into account,” noted Don McDougall, director of advisory services for RBC Dexia.

Over the period, the Canadian dollar depreciated almost seven per cent against several world currencies, including 2.7 per cent against the U.S. dollar, 10 per cent against the Euro and 13 per cent against the Japanese

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