Forty-four percent of executives overseeing 105 U.S., U.K. or Canadian pension plans said recent market turmoil had increased the likelihood that they will take steps to terminate their plans “as soon as possible,” according to a survey by SEI Investments.
In addition, more than a third of respondents (34%) who use investment consultants questioned whether their traditional relationships with those consultants were providing “enough accountability for results and fiduciary protection,” according to SEI’s Pension Management Research Panel survey, conducted last month
In an interview, Jon Waite, SEI Institutional Group’s chief actuary and director of investment management advice, said there are signs some plan sponsor executives are mulling changes that would allow them to spend more time on high-level strategic questions and less time on administrative issues. Those changes could include giving greater fiduciary responsibilities to consultants or external managers in running the investment program.
Among other results, only 28% reported making changes to their asset allocation policies over the past six months — leaving open the question, Mr. Waite said, of whether plan executives are evaluating those policies as often as they should — while investments in alternative asset classes remained at roughly the same levels as before the sharp rise in volatility over the past two years.
Among U.S. respondents, 57% reported private equity investments, 52% had hedge fund allocations, 52% had real estate holdings, 29% had venture capital allocations and 19% used portable alpha strategies.