“Reach for yield”—This is the commonly heard explanation for why pension plans shift their portfolios toward alternative assets. But we show that the new portfolios also hold more bonds, offer lower average returns and produce smaller and less volatile solvency deficits. These shifts are part of a broader strategy to reduce solvency risk.
Staff analytical notes
The Canadian non-bank financial intermediation (NBFI) sector saw strong growth in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, COVID‑19 caused a financial shock. We provide a preliminary analysis on the impact of COVID‑19 on the sector as well as an update on its growth.
The disruption due to COVID-19 reverberated through the bond markets in three phases. In the first phase, dealers met the rising demand for liquidity. In the second, dealers reduced the supply of liquidity, and trading conditions worsened significantly. Finally, the market returned to relative stability following several interventions by the Bank of Canada.