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Fiduciary Matters blog

Insights for institutional investors

March 27, 2015By

Asset allocation changes among the U.S.’s biggest pension plans

Many of the largest pension plans made significant changes to their asset allocation in 2014. Among the nineteen members of the $20 billion club – a group of U.S. listed corporations that each have worldwide pension liabilities in excess of $20 billion – no fewer than nine increased their allocation to fixed income by 4% or more during the year.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By March 19, 2015

There’s $27 trillion in the U.S. retirement savings system: don’t expect legislators to leave it alone

At the end of 2014, U.S. household retirement assets totaled a whopping $27 trillion (according to the latest edition of the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds Report .) Those assets, the great majority of which enjoy some degree of tax advantage, are spread across various sectors of the system: IRAs, pension plans, 401(k) plans and so on.

Categories: Category: The retirement system
By March 10, 2015

Frozen plans are still different

I have just finished (with Jim Gannon and Justin Owens) an update of the frozen plan handbook that we first created in October 2013. It has (by the standards of publications aimed at institutional investors) been flying off the shelves; this is a popular topic.

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

The pension world’s $20 billion club takes a hit from improving longevity

The annual SEC filings of the corporations that sponsor the U.S.’s largest pension plans (we call them the $20 billion club) provide us with an annual snapshot of the state of corporate pensions across America. The latest data shows that, following a strong year in 2013 , 2014 saw pension funding take a step back.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By February 12, 2015

Shell, BP, climate change disclosure and the perils of belief overkill

Shell recently endorsed a Shareholder Resolution calling for additional disclosures on climate-related issues such as emissions and sustainability. BP followed suit a few days later.

Categories: Category: Governance & risk
By February 2, 2015

The White House’s budget proposals reveal that pressure for change is building in the U.S. retirement system

Today’s budget proposals include several retirement-related provisions, most notably an auto-IRA and a cap on benefit levels. While neither of those ideas seems likely to become law in the short term, the proposals point to a shifting outlook for the U.S. retirement system.

Categories: Category: The retirement system
By January 27, 2015

With the ten-year Treasury yield this low, don’t expect pension plans to change their positions on LDI

A lot has been said over the past fifteen years about what pension plans ought to do regarding liability-driven investing (LDI) . But, with interest rates having fallen this year to levels we haven’t seen in decades, I think that what many plans will do is: not much at all. Whatever the position a plan is in, low interest rates make it difficult to make changes now.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy