Strong investor interest in corporate debt

Emerging markets corporate debt is taking on a bigger role in fixed-income portfolios with attractive yields and strong underlying fundamentals relative to both sovereign and developed-market high-yield debt attracting investors. While still beholden to sell-offs in risk assets, emerging markets corporate debt has seen strong inflows from institutional investors driven by returns that have outperformed... Read more »

Laws add to
de-risking push

Recent legal changes governing how US corporate pension plans calculate their funding liabilities could increase moves to de-risk pension plans, particularly through lump sum payments to participants, says Matt Herrmann a retirement risk expert at asset consultant Towers Watson. Herrmann, leader of Towers Watson’s retirement-risk-management group, says the legislative changes that passed through both houses... Read more »

USD 10% undervalued, says State Street

Investors should reconsider their currency hedging strategies as an undervalued US dollar is predicted to strengthen according to Colin Crownover, State Street Global Advisors global head of currency management. The US dollar is as much as 10 per cent undervalued relative to other major currencies, says Crownover, who also forecasts that the economic-growth gap between... Read more »

Project Telos: a map to sustainable investing

The complexity of sustainable investing could be a step too far for many asset owners with current governance not up to the complexity of embedding environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into decision-making, according to head of Towers Watson Roger Urwin. The comments come as the global asset consultant is set to release the results... Read more »

Missouri’s risk-based
asset allocation

A decision by two of Missouri’s public pension plans to adopt a straightforward risk-based approach to asset allocation garnered their best result in two decades last year, while also providing investment staff with the autonomy to react quickly to changing market conditions. The board overseeing the Public School Retirement System of Missouri (PSRS) and the... Read more »

Governance disclosure needs nutrition label

Pension funds should disclose their governance arrangements using a methodology similar to a nutrition label, with members easily able to compare the transparency and accountability of fund standards, a leading corporate-governance expert from Yale says. Dr Stephen Davis, the executive director of Yale School of Management’s Millstein Centre for Corporate Governance and Performance, has called... Read more »

Mercer lists priorities for Norway’s GPFG

A report finding Norway’s $582.7-billion sovereign wealth fund could face significant losses in a range of climate-change scenarios is unlikely to result in changes to the fund’s investment strategy, Norway’s state secretary Hilde Singsaas says. Norway’s Ministry of Finance released the report into the Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFG) that it commissioned from Mercer and... Read more »

CheckRisk rethinks the risk business

Beta-driven equity investors may currently be taking far greater risks than they are getting paid for when seeking broad market exposure, British risk expert Nick Bullman warns. Bullman, the founder of specialist risk consultancy CheckRisk, has developed a methodology using macroeconomic research along with econometric and behavioural risk inputs to identify what he describes as... Read more »
RESEARCH survey: funds favour domestic property

Funds are looking to increase their allocations to property, with direct ownership of unlisted pooled-property funds the most popular way of gaining exposure, a global property survey reveals. The survey shows funds have an average exposure to property of 9.5 per cent of their overall portfolios and would most likely move funds from equities... Read more »

Conservative Korea

Korean corporate pension funds have grown more conservative in their investments, increasing already high allocations to guaranteed-insurance contracts (GICs) and term savings, the Towers Watson Korea Pension Report shows. The annual snapshot of the Korean pension market found that 93 per cent of corporate pension-plan assets are allocated to principal-guaranteed products, of which nearly 58... Read more »

Wyoming takes
the passive route

Investors are taking an increasingly sophisticated view of their passive equity allocations, aiming to capture the benefits of a range of risk premiums, while also lowering the volatility and improving the risk/adjusted returns – all at a considerably lower cost than active management. Wyoming Retirement System (WRS) turned to risk-premium mandates as part of a... Read more »

Report reveals Norway’s SWF climate risk

Norway’s 3496 billion kroner (US$582.7 billion) sovereign wealth fund could suffer significant losses in a range of climate-change scenarios if it fails to hedge its risk by investing in climate-sensitive assets, the release of a confidential report shows. Norway’s Ministry of Finance recently released an extensive study by asset consultant Mercer on the effects of... Read more »