DUBLIN - Pension assets in Ireland fell an estimated 18.9% in 2002, according to Mercer Investment Consulting.
The 2002 performance is more than three times worse than the 2001 return of -5.7%.
In Ireland, pension plans in 2002 fell victim to 4.6% inflation, one of the highest rates in Europe, making real returns from pension plans -23.5%.
With the average Irish pension plan allocating 70% of assets to equities, it was inevitable that schemes would be hit hard by the 30% overall fall in global equities, said Tom Murphy, head of Mercer Investment Consulting in Dublin.
But pension plans could take comfort that, as long-term investors, the schemes experienced a compound-annualized return of 10.9% over the 10-year period, he added.
100 Canadian plans' shortfall up to C$23.5 billion
EDMONTON, Alberta - Canada's 100 largest corporate pension plans could have up to C$23.5 billion (US$15.5 billion) in unfunded liabilities for 2002, according to projections in a new study co-written by Heather Wier, associate professor of accounting at the University of Alberta. The projections estimate unfunded liabilities ranging from C$17.8 billion to C$23.5 billion, up from C$1.8 billion the previous year. The same 100 pension plans had C$20.6 billion in surplus assets in 2000, she said.
Declining equity markets are the primary reason for the shortfall increase, Ms. Wier said.
The study's other writers were Christine Wiedman, accounting professor at the University of Western Ontario, and Andrzej Zybul, a business student at the same university.
Survey says global assets down $1.4 trillion in 2002
LONDON - Global pension assets fell $1.4 trillion, or about 12%, in 2002, according to a Watson Wyatt survey. Pension assets of the 11 major global markets ended the year with a cumulative $10.7 trillion, the same amount as in 1997, according to Watson Wyatt; that's $2.8 trillion lower than the 1999 peak of $13.5 trillion. As pension assets fell in the past year, liabilities were growing, resulting in a 20% decrease on pension fund balance sheets. The 11 major markets included in the survey are the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
CPP Board commits money to commercial real estate
TORONTO - CPP Investment Board committed up to C$100 million (US$65 million) to the Canadian Income and Growth Fund, managed by LaSalle Investment Management (Canada), said Mark Weisdorf, vice president, private market investments, at the C$14 billion board. It is the second commitment the fund has made to commercial real estate ownership.
FSA draft law would allow `open architecture'
LONDON - Britain's Financial Services Authority published a draft law aimed at abolishing rules that restrict brokers and financial advisers to selling just one company's product, a move that could lead to a more "open architecture" money management business model in the United Kingdom.
The proposed rules will allow agents to sell investment schemes offered by any money management firm or financial institution. Currently, an agent that is affiliated with a fund manager can sell only that manager's funds.
Canada pension groups: Kill foreign content rule
OTTAWA - The Pension Investment Association of Canada and the Association of Canadian Pension Management want the Ottawa government to abolish its 30% foreign content limit on retirement savings plans. The two groups said a new study indicates that eliminating the limit would benefit Canadian businesses and not hurt the Canadian dollar. Keith Ambachtsheer, president of ACPM, said "only good things, not bad things, would happen from the repeal of the rule."
The organizations hope that a repeal will be part of the next federal budget, to be submitted by the end of February, although Mr. Ambachtsheer said the government will more likely "phase out the rule over time."
Dutch pension giants slate asset-liability studies
HEERLEN, Netherlands - Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP is conducting an asset-liability study, to be completed in April. The e147 billion ($155 billion) fund conducts internal studies every three years, said Michel Meijs, spokesman.
Separately, PGGM, Zeist, later this year will conduct an asset-liability study of its e5.2 billion ($5.5 billion) plan, said Kees Verhaegen, spokesman. Mr. Verhaegen said the study would be completed by the second half of the year.
WM study: '02 worst year for U.K. schemes since '74
LONDON - U.K. pension schemes in 2002 posted their worst calendar year loss since 1974, with returns sinking by an average of 14%, largely because of falling equity prices, according to data published by WM Co.
The survey found equity investments by U.K. plans fell 22% in 2002, in line with the benchmark FTSE 350 index, while bond components gained 9.7% and real estate gained 8.9%.
Eric Lambert, WM head of marketing and client services, could not be reached for comment by press time.
The findings were similar to those in the Russell/Mellon CAPS survey published a week earlier, which showed that overall pension assets in Britain dropped £75 billion ($116 billion) in 2002, to £365 billion.