The 50 largest pension funds in the U.K. had about £603.2 billion ($1.03 trillion) in assets as of June 30, an increase of 15.5% compared with the same date in 2012, according to Pensions & Investments' survey of the funds.
The top 10 alone accounted for just shy of 45% of the total, at £269.4 billion, about the same from 2012's figures. The top 10 funds' assets increased 12.8% during the two years.
There also was movement at the top, with the Universities Superannuation Scheme, London, moving into first place with £42.6 billion. It swapped places with the BT Pension Scheme, also based in London, at £41.2 billion of assets.
Three bank-sponsored funds rounded out the top five, holding the same rank as in the previous survey: Lloyds TSB Group PLC pension plans, Bristol, with about £34 billion of assets; Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh, with £26.8 billion; and Barclays Bank PLC, London, with about £24.6 billion.
Asset allocation among the top 50 plans changed, reflecting companies' moves to reduce risk. The weighted average allocation to equities dropped to 36.2%, from 38.4% in 2012. Fixed-income exposure increased to a weighted average of 40.2%, up slightly from 40%, while alternatives were up to 10% from 7.4%. Real estate made a gain in weighted allocation overall for the top 50 funds, by 0.1 percentage points to 6.4%
“The broad derisking trend continues,” said Tapan Datta, partner and head of asset allocation at Aon Hewitt, London. “That is the nature of the defined benefit (funds) that we have.”
Mr. Datta said a combination of years of regulation and rising longevity of participants have helped to drive this trend.