International investments by large defined benefit plans grew 18.8% in the year ended Sept. 30, to $375.6 billion.
According to Pensions & Investments' annual survey of the nation's largest retirement plan sponsors, active international equity investments by defined benefit plans among the top 200 grew 18.4%, to $335.9 billion; active international fixed income grew 22.5%, to $39.7 billion.
Emerging markets investing grew 17%, to $53.6 billion, with equity up 10.9%, to $44.8 billion, and fixed income skyrocketing 63% from an admittedly small base to $8.8 billion.
When adjusted for the generally strong market gains, however, there actually was a decline in assets invested. Overall active international dropped 1.9% and active international equity dropped 3.3%; overall emerging market investment dropped 3.8% and emerging markets equity was down 10%. The picture was a bit brighter in fixed income, with active international bonds showing an increase of 12.5% and emerging market debt, 46.7%, again starting from the small base.