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Fiduciary Matters blog

Insights for institutional investors

May 19, 2015By

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
By May 13, 2015

Extending duration, hedge long first, and more bang for the LDI buck

Last year, Russell described a new approach to liability-driven investing (LDI) that concentrated on longer-dated cash flows, rather than treating all liabilities as equally important. The approach is called “hedge long first”, or HLF. At the Russell Institutional Summit held last week in New Orleans, David Phillips and Marty Jaugietis expanded on this idea and looked at some of the implications for portfolio construction.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By May 6, 2015

Litigation is a poor way to regulate the investment industry

The question of fiduciary responsibility—and specifically minimization of the risk of lawsuits—has been a growing concern for many retirement plan sponsors in recent years. It has reached the point where the specter of potential litigation is weighing too heavy in too many decisions that are being made to the detriment not only of plan sponsors, but also of participants.

Categories: Category: Governance & risk
By April 29, 2015

Flight-to-safety is a prime example of why correlations can’t always be trusted

Investment would be much simpler if the way that markets reacted to any given event was completely predictable: “if X happens, then Y always follows” would make for an easier life for all of us. But markets are not that well-behaved.

Categories: Category: Governance & risk
By April 22, 2015

PBGC premiums are starting to factor into corporate pension decisions

With recent legislation greatly increasing premiums payable to the PBGC, they have now reached a level at which they become a material consideration in decisions such as funding, risk transfer and investment policy.

Categories: Category: Defined benefit strategy
By April 16, 2015

When yields go negative, what’s an investor to do?

With interest rates at astonishingly low levels – even to the point of some instruments offering negative yields – what’s an investor to do? Some may decide that the answer is to take more risk and look for more return from other sources. But it may make more sense for some investors to look to reduce the amount of risk that they are taking.

Categories: Category: Market commentary
By April 8, 2015

Outsourcing continues to gain popularity among institutional investors

It has long been the norm among institutional investors to delegate certain functions to others. But the extent to which this is being done and the scope of responsibilities that are being outsourced are growing.

Categories: Category: Governance & risk