Corporate America's move away from defined benefit plans hit a dubious milestone: For the first time since Pensions & Investments began listing the largest U.S. retirement plans, not a single corporate name appears in the ranking of the 10 largest defined benefit plans.
Illiquid real asset investment strategies, energy and distressed debt had the most growth among the non-hedge fund alternative investment strategies, in the year ended Sept. 30, according to the findings of Pensions & Investments' top 200 retirement plan survey.
Assets invested in hedge funds by defined benefit plans grew faster than any other large alternative investment asset class in the year ended Sept. 30, according to data from Pensions & Investments' annual survey of the nation's largest retirement funds.
A strategy that was supposed to smooth out returns has instead taken the $9.62 billion San Diego County Employees' Retirement Association on a wild ride, putting its investment performance in the bottom quartile last year after scaling top-quartile heights in 2012.
Transition managers' assets from U.S. pension funds declined 10% to 15% in 2013 as those clients managed more traditional investments internally, reduced the amount that's rebalanced, and increased their allocations to alternative investments.
An ambitious idea for a universal retirement program introduced Jan. 30 by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is being welcomed for advancing a national debate on ways to improve retirement security, but it faces an uphill climb in Congress.
The proxy season has triggered a gold rush of activist institutional investors challenging companies. But this swell in corporate governance activity could strain investors' resources, especially related to executive pay issues and shareholder engagements.
Target-date funds continued gaining popularity in the year ended Sept. 30, with assets invested in the option reaching $122.2 billion among DC plans in Pensions & Investments' ranking of the largest U.S. retirement plans.
If proxy voting is the principal way shareholders influence corporate governance and the direction of corporations, the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission fall short in enabling shareholders in contested elections to select the combination of nominees they believe will best foster long-term value creation.