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Fiduciary Matters blog

Insights for institutional investors

June 29, 2015By

Fully funded? Maintaining an allocation to return-seeking assets might still be necessary

One of the main concerns plan sponsors have when considering their end game is surplus volatility.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By June 24, 2015

The perils of optimizers (Or: Don’t marry a model, part 2)

Optimizers are widely used in the construction and analysis of investment portfolios. But I’m not a fan.

Categories: Category: Investment management
By June 17, 2015

Tibble: hard to argue with the decision, but the current environment leaves fiduciaries on the defensive

The pivotal observation in the recent Supreme Court judgment on Tibble vs. Edison is that “a fiduciary is required to conduct a regular review of its investment with the nature and timing of the review contingent on the circumstances.”

By June 10, 2015

Five years of mark-to-market pension expense reporting

The majority of U.S.-listed corporations amortize pension gains and losses through their earnings statements over a period of several years. Some, however, have adopted a mark-to-market approach, which is simpler and more transparent, but results in greater volatility.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By June 2, 2015

The application of smart beta to currency management

Most of the discussion of smart beta so far has focused on the management of equity portfolios. At the recent Russell Institutional Summit, Keith Brakebill described how the concept is being extended to currency markets.

Categories: Category: Investment management
By May 27, 2015

Another reason for auto-features in DC plans: cognitive decline

Among the topics that scored best in audience evaluation at the recent Russell Institutional Summit was “Overcoming retirement income challenges” in which Russell’s Jeff Eng was joined by Professor Michael Finke of Texas Tech University, a leading researcher in the field of personal finance.

Categories: Category: Defined contribution strategy
By May 19, 2015

Is ESG a non-financial issue? Or a future financial issue?

One of the most-discussed sessions at the recent Russell Institutional Summit was “Investing Sustainably”, which featured Christianna Wood, CEO, Gore Creek Capital Ltd. (and former Senior Investment Officer for CalPERS) and Mark Walker, Unilever’s Global Chief Investment Officer. The sound bite that stuck with me was Mark’s comment that “it’s sometimes better to think of these issues as future financial rather than non-financial.”

Categories: Category: Governance & risk