ANALYSIS

Risk modelling
requires review

Advocating the use of financial models a six-year-old could understand and warning that the dogmatic belief in overly complex and unrealistic models contributed to the financial crisis were some of the challenging views put to the attendees of the recent CFA Institute’s annual conference. Throwing down the gauntlet was GMO asset-allocation team member James Montier,... Read more »
NEWS

Pipes over promises

The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is shunning European sovereign bonds, with the $152.8-billion fund’s head of investment saying European infrastructure offers far more attractive risk/return opportunities. Mark Wiseman, CPPIB’s executive vice-president of investments, told delegates at last week’s Milken Institute Global Conference 2012 in Los Angeles that the fund had chosen not to... Read more »
ANALYSIS

Epic change predicted for investment industry

The investment management industry must address the high fees it charges in relation to the realistic returns it can achieve in the current environment, attendees at the CFA Institute’s annual conference were told this week. As part of celebrations of the 50-year history of the CFA Charter, a panel of eminent institute members discussed the... Read more »
ANALYSIS

OECD, ITUC call for more green investment

Amid calls from global leaders for pension funds to invest more in the green economy, institutional green investments still languish at less than 1 per cent of portfolios. A recent OECD report looks at some of the barriers facing investors wanting to invest more in the sector, with regulatory uncertainty and a lack of suitable... Read more »
INVESTOR PROFILE

PGGM goes one step further

The €109-billion PGGM has been one of the global leaders in allocating assets according to ESG criteria. Now it is taking the philosophy one step further and aims to measure how all of its investments have a positive influence on the state of the world by measuring “sustainable returns”. The Dutch pension-fund service provider claims... Read more »
INVESTOR PROFILE

NBIM approaches water with a filter

Water and how a company manages its exposure to this increasingly scarce resource is a key focus for Norway’s sovereign wealth fund in assessing the environmental and social performance of the more than 8000 companies in its portfolio. Anne Kvam, the head of Norges Bank Investment Management’s (NBIM) corporate governance team, says the sheer size... Read more »
ANALYSIS

Money for water

The global scarcity of water continues to make headlines, but a water-themed investment approach is only just starting to make waves with large institutional investors. Estimates of the assets in equity funds in this niche corner of the investment world vary from about $3 billion to $6 billion in funds under management – a veritable... Read more »
ANALYSIS

GMO’s Grantham bets against irrational markets

Supposedly long-term investors typically have the patience to wait about three years to see if an investment strategy will pay-off with managers needing to manage to their own and their client’s career risk tolerance, investment icon and Grantham, Mayo and van Otterloo (GMO) founder Jeremy Grantham says. In his quarterly letter to investors, Grantham says... Read more »
NEWS

US public pensions take to social media

US public pension funds, under fire for the sustainability of their defined-benefit plans, are increasingly opening a new social-media front line in the battle to influence public opinion. The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is the latest to step up its social media presence, posting its first You Tube video, which outlines the positive... Read more »
ANALYSIS

Pimco advocates emerging markets

The flight to quality was not limited to certain developed-country debt during the volatility in the second half of 2011. Indeed, Pimco’s global co-head of emerging-markets portfolio management Ramin Toloui says that some emerging-market government bonds are potential safe havens during times of market stress. He says that the bond giant’s Global Advantage Government Bond... Read more »
NEWS

The spectre of defined-benefit plans

The recent sharp growth in US corporate defined-benefit-plan liabilities, coupled with concerns that interest rates will start to rise from current historical lows, is slowing the push to de-risk plans, Wilshire Consulting’s head of investment research, Steven Foresti says. The latest Wilshire Consulting research into defined-benefit (DB) plans at S&P 500 companies reveals that aggregate... Read more »
NEWS

Swedish Ethical Council
goes proactive

Moving from reactive engagement to proactively working with companies and regulators to avoid major environmental, social or corporate governance (ESG) events has become a key focus of the Swedish Ethical Council, its new head says. Newly appointed chairwoman Ulrika Danielson says that the council, which is a collaborative engagement effort for the AP 1 to... Read more »