Message from the Chief Investment Officer
I am pleased to present the first of our new Quarterly Market Updates. The new format, replacing our printed MarketWatch publication, is intended to provide you with a more concise and relevant summary of the macroeconomic forces that could have an impact on your portfolio.
Overall, our first-quarter performance has been positive for client portfolios. Global equity markets saw positive returns and fixed-income markets held their own. Relative to specific index benchmarks, some funds and portfolios did not exceed their respective benchmark return. This is not unusual given the recent dramatic effect of both currency and oil prices on Canadian investment portfolios across the board. Our clients’ portfolios remain well positioned to reach their goals.
The first quarter of 2015 highlighted a series of interconnected themes: interest rates and a steepening yield curve; divergent global economic policy; and economic growth. And while commodities remain important—particularly in Canada—they figure less prominently this quarter’s results, compared with the steep fall in oil prices seen in the latter half of 2014.
These themes are examined more fully in our Macroeconomic Overview and Outlook. In summary, global economic expansion continued through the first quarter and is expected to continue at a modest pace. Capital markets continued to strengthen over the period, and financial conditions remain accommodative to investment asset growth globally as inflation remains relatively low.