Table of Contents
Issue Date: Monday, October 29, 2012
A handful of constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballots across the U.S. would affect public pension plans in a variety of states, but none goes very far toward reducing existing unfunded pension liabilities, even in the worst-funded states.
A number of state and local pension plans around the country could see changes in the near future, depending on who is elected in a number of races on Nov. 6.
Aggregate assets in 130/30 strategies declined 24% since their heyday in September 2008, but a few top managers have had a field day since then, scooping up the few searches that have been put out to bid.
Defined contribution executives express a surprisingly strong interest in retirement income options and an overwhelming ho-hum on the value of new fee disclosure rules, a survey by Pensions & Investments and Rocaton Investment Advisors LLC shows.
Total assets under management of the world's largest 500 managers fell 2.5% in 2011 to $63.1 trillion, and have yet to reach their pre-crisis level, according to the annual Pensions & Investments/Towers Watson World 500 ranking.
A dispute between executives at Western Asset Management Co. and parent Legg Mason Inc. over who should handle distribution in the defined contribution and retail markets is fueling the two firms' possible split.
With a too-close-to-call presidential race and congressional races that are expected to maintain a Republican-controlled House and Democrat-led Senate, there are two certainties that incoming officeholders need to address — a $1.1 trillion federal budget deficit and tax reform.
With nearly 60% of companies in the S&P 500 index reporting, third-quarter earnings have thus far disappointed investors.
Verizon Communications Inc. purchased an annuity contract with Prudential Insurance Co. of America for about 25% of its pension liabilities just when demand in the high-quality corporate bond market is starting to supplant supply in a low interest-rate environment.
Market gains in the third quarter benefited the largest publicly held institutional money managers, although continued investor hesitancy in a volatile market — and in the face of the upcoming election — kept net inflows relatively low.
A handful of U.S.-based investment consultants continue to expand in a challenging Asia-Pacific marketplace dominated by sovereign wealth funds and national retirement plans, betting that the region's fast-paced growth will open up new business opportunities over the medium term.
Some of the world's largest pension funds are increasingly turning to emerging managers to generate alpha, particularly in alternative asset classes where more nimble players may have an edge.
Executives overseeing investments for sovereign wealth funds and national pension plans, at a recent hedge fund conference, agreed on the need to stay focused on long-term investment goals amid capital market volatility.
For many companies in the stable value market, the glass is either half-empty or half-full when it comes to the industry.
BlackRock Inc.'s strategy to offer 10 low-cost exchange-traded funds for buy-and-hold investors will cost it revenue at the outset, but analysts say the effort to reclaim business and market share it has lost in recent years is generally positive long term.
For the past several years, many of the biggest pension and endowment funds in the United States have listed exchange-traded funds among their largest internally managed equity holdings, buying ETFs for exposure to international stocks, commodities and precious metals.
Breaking a tradition established during the 1984 elections, presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama each declined to participate in an employee benefit questionnaire submitted by organizations representing benefits professionals, along with Pensions & Investments.
Three MIT researchers have produced an interesting proof of concept: Financial engineering can substantially reduce the risk of funding biomedical innovations.
Corporate socially responsible engagements with U.S. companies produced on average an 1.8 percentage points in incremental return over a 12-month period after the initial engagement, according to findings by three academics who on Oct. 2 were named winners of the $5,000 Moskowitz Prize for their research.
Work of the two professors who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for microeconomic engineering related to markets where price isn't a factor, might lay a path for attracting research into financial markets.
Boeing Co.'s pension plan investments have returned about 10% so far in 2012, exceeding its 7.75% assumed rate of return on pension assets, Gregory D. Smith, executive vice president and CFO, said in a conference call Oct. 24 on the company's third-quarter financial results.
Gains in fixed income fail to offset equity declines as top 500 managers' assets fall 2.5% in 2011.
In election season, politicians ask: Are you better off than you were four years ago? But pension funds should ask: Are they better prepared to deal with the risk and return challenges that lie ahead than they were when the financial market crisis struck?
The Stockton, Calif., municipal bankruptcy may provide a dangerous precedent for how public pension plan members are treated relative to other obligations, such as bondholders.
Marked-to-market pension accounting is not gaining popularity these days.
As cash balance plans have experienced a rise in popularity, the search for optimal investment allocations has continued.
Howard Marks helped found Oaktree Capital Management and has worked to make it one of the largest distressed-debt firms around.