Pension Indices: March 2023
April 13, 2023
The Pension Indices by TELUS Health, released monthly, condense the journey that pension plans have experienced during the year into a few key statistics. More importantly, they also provide an early indicator of the challenges and opportunities that are yet to come for plan sponsors and administrators to help with the monitoring and management of their pension plans.
- Over the month of March, the funded position of a typical pension plan increased on both a solvency basis and an accounting basis.
- The investment return was 1.8% for the month for a representative pension plan portfolio, driven by mainly positive returns in equity markets and a decrease in bond yields.
- The global developed and emerging equity markets index, the MSCI ACWI, returned 2.5% in Canadian dollar terms. The Canadian equity index, the S&P/TSX Composite, finished the month with a return of -0.2%.
- Returns for Canadian bond indices were positive as yields decreased. Short-term Government of Canada bond yields decreased by 0.47% during the month and long-term Government of Canada bond yields decreased by 0.18%. Corporate credit spreads saw an increase in March.
- Market expectations for long-term inflation (the break-even inflation rate) were approximately 1.68% at the end of March, which represents a 0.22% decrease from the end of February.
- The accounting pension expense index saw an increase in March mainly due to a decrease in the accounting discount rates during this period.