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Fiduciary Matters blog

Insights for institutional investors

April 16, 2015By

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
By April 2, 2015

Chronicling the quiet revolution in non-profit investment

A new Russell handbook sets out a step-by-step guide to investment strategy for nonprofit investors. What strikes me as I read it is the extent to which nonprofit investment has quietly transformed itself in the past couple of decades.

Categories: Category: Non-profit strategy
By March 27, 2015

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