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Article | Global Pension Finance Watch

Global Pension Finance Watch: First quarter 2021

Improved first quarter index results

Investments|Retirement
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By Nathan Pavlik and David Finn | April 22, 2021

Rising global discount rates during Q1 2021 drove positive first quarter pension index results for all regions.

Asset returns were mixed with Brazil, Canada, and the U.K. negative for the quarter which partially offset the liability gains. The overall impact of these changes resulted in positive pension index returns for all markets during the first quarter. Performance for the last 12 month has been mixed, with most regions improving signifcantly, with the exception of Brazil and the U.K. notably falling.

While it is always the case that Global Pension Finance Watch captures results at the end of each quarter, we particularly want to highlight the point in time view of this publication in light of the volatiliy. Willis Towers Watson supports the daily monitoring of pension funded status and other key pension financial metrics for those organizations wishing to inform key business decisions.

About this report

Global Pension Finance Watch, published quarterly, reviews how capital market performance affects defined benefit pension plan financing in major retirement markets worldwide, with a focus on linked asset/liability results. We cover defined benefit pension plans in Brazil, Canada, the Eurozone, Japan, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Specific plan results will vary, often substantially, based on liability characteristics, contribution policy, portfolio composition and management strategy, among other factors. The passage of time since quarter end may also have a significant impact on pension plan financing.

The impact of capital markets on these pension plans is twofold:

  • Investment performance on fund assets
  • Changes in economic assumptions on plan liabilities (as measured under international accounting standards)

If you have questions or comments about this report, please contact our Willis Towers Watson experts.

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