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In Conversation

Organisational change: asset owners 2.0

A key ingredient for success in any organisation is strong leadership. It is common in the corporate world for the chief executive to change every five to 10 years as the organisation evolves. Are the same principles true for large institutional investors?     Roger Urwin, global head of investment content at Towers Watson, who […]
In Conversation

Johnson urges pension simplicity

There is a David-and-Goliath feeling to the battle Michael Johnson, a research fellow at the London-based think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, is waging against the pension industry. His research, which lays out the case for radically simplifying all aspects of the United Kingdom’s pension sector, has earned him a reputation as a maverick. […]
Analysis

Building consensus for investment beliefs at CalPERS

An investment-beliefs workshop for the CalPERS board, held in April, revealed five areas, including active management, where the views of the board and staff lacked consensus. The contentious, or unsettled, topics for discussion were active management, private asset classes, sustainability (environmental, social and governance), investment performance targets and stakeholder considerations. At the board workshop, Janine […]
In Conversation

Sustainability to create
new drivers of return

Sustainability is constructing a portfolio today on the earnings of the future, according to global head of investment content for Towers Watson, Roger Urwin. Not all performance is born equal, he says, and sustainability is performance with purpose. A cap-weighted portfolio is made up of an earnings stream based on today’s conditions, Urwin explains, with […]
Analysis

Tackling sustainability in emerging markets

Emerging market investing and sustainable investing easily rank as two of the most substantiated of the many investment trends of the past decade. However, the two styles of investing are far from natural bedfellows. Christian Ragnartz, as chief investment officer of the $17-billion-plus Swedish pension fund AP7 – which has 13 per cent of its […]
Investor Profile

Calming the waters of uncertainty at UK seafarers’ fund

The UK’s £3.3-billion ($5.6-billion) Merchant Navy Officers’ Pension Fund (MNOPF) is poised to offload the final portion of its defined-benefit liabilities in the old section of the scheme. The fund, which has provided pensions to the shipping industry since 1937, comprises a $3.2-billion new section and a $2-billion old section, closed since 1978 and with […]
News

Defensive setting, anaemic growth

Global pension funds continue to have a defensive asset allocation, reflected in the anaemic growth in the total assets of the world’s largest 300 pension funds by less than 2 per cent in 2011, new Towers Watson research reveals. The P&I/ Towers Watson Global 300 research reveals that concerns about ongoing uncertainty in global markets […]
Analysis

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 […]
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