Special Report: Megafunds

Asset increases are only change for top 20 funds

Assets held by the top 20 funds resumed an upward path in 2016, with the world's largest retirement funds only getting bigger in dollar terms.

Assets under management of the top 20 funds increased 7.1% in 2016, compared to an increase of 6.1% for the overall ranking in the Pensions & Investments/Willis Towers Watson World 300 analysis. In the 2015 ranking, assets of the top 20 funds dropped 2.2%, compared with an overall decline for the top 300 of 3.4%.

There were no changes among the names in the top 20, but there were small shifts in the order.

The Government Pension Investment Fund, Tokyo, retained its crown as the largest retirement fund with $1.24 trillion in assets. That represented a 6.4% gain from 2015.

Norway's Government Pension Fund Global, Oslo, grew 3.1% in 2016 to $893.1 billion. In third place was the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Washington, which grew 9.5% to $485.6 billion; followed by the National Pension Service, Seoul, which grew 6.2% to $462.2 billion. Rounding out the top five was Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Heerlen, the Netherlands, which recorded 5.2% growth to $404.3 billion.

Changes in the top 20 saw the $235.8 billion Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, jump one place to eighth, pushing Singapore's $227.1 billion Central Provident Fund into ninth place.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, grew 6.3% to $184.5 billion and took 12th place in the top 20, moving up from 13th. The fund displaced Japan's Pension Fund Association for Local Government Officials, Tokyo, which grew 4% to $183.2 billion, but now sits at No. 13.

Ranking 14th was the New York City Retirement Systems, which grew 10.6% to $171.6 billion, and took that spot from Malaysia's $165.5 billion Employees Provident Fund, which moved to 15th place in 2016.

The last change saw South Africa's Government Employee Pension Fund grow 15.5% to $119.2 billion, and move into 19th place in the 2016 ranking. Denmark's ATP, Hellerup, grew 6.1% to $113.2 billion, but slipped to 20th place.