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Fiduciary Matters blog

Insights for institutional investors

November 17, 2014By

Defined Ambition: has the UK found a viable middle path between defined benefit and defined contribution?

What comes out of a pension system is the same as what goes in. And only two things go in: contributions and investment returns.

By November 10, 2014

Hedge long first for a different kind of LDI

What is the goal of an LDI portfolio? If you answered “to behave as much like the liabilities as possible” then you are not alone, and doing so can be a material first step toward reducing the volatility of the plan’s overall surplus/deficit (or “surplus volatility”.) But there is another possible answer to the question, and that leads to a different approach to LDI.

Categories: Category: Liability driven investing
By November 3, 2014

Latest earnings calls confirm the trends amongst the pension world’s $20 billion club

The October round of earnings calls (Q3 for most U.S.-listed corporations) provide a handy guide to the state of corporate pension plans in advance of the full 10-K reports that mostly come out in February. This year, there has been no single theme that dominated the pension-related comments of the sponsors of large DB plans.

By October 29, 2014

It’s a great sign for markets when investors—like CalPERS and Motorola—think for themselves

In recent weeks, CalPERS and Motorola have both made headlines in the investment press for taking significant steps in their investment programs. Motorola are paying $3.1bn to Prudential to buy pension annuities, moving both assets and liabilities off of their corporate balance sheet; the third biggest such annuity buy-out ever in the U.S., trumped only by GM and Verizon’s 2012 mega-deals . Meanwhile, CalPERS are pulling the plug on a $4 billion hedge funds program. Neither action was driven by a desire to follow the herd: indeed, both actions involve significant “maverick risk”, the extra risk that comes from being different.

Categories: Category: General
By October 22, 2014

October’s volatile markets hit pension plan funding

2014 has not been a strong year so far for corporate pension plan funding, with a large part of 2013’s gains given back: our representative plan hit 88% funded at the end of 2013, but ended September at 84.2%.

By October 15, 2014

IRS segment rates and funding choices for plan sponsors

While the details of recent changes to IRS segment rates for pension plan funding are complicated, their impact is not: corporations will be allowed to put less money into their defined benefit pension plans for the next few years if they choose.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By October 7, 2014

The most useful lessons from behavioral finance books are not about market behavior, they are about you

Behavioral finance should be a part of every investor’s education. Understanding how widespread are traits such as overconfidence, hindsight bias, and frame dependence is helpful if we are to avoid their traps.

Categories: Category: General