Retirement plan assets in 16 major markets grew 6.1% to $36.1 trillion in the year ended Dec. 31, reaching 84.4% of world GDP, said new research by Towers Watson.
The consultant found retirement plan assets in 16 markets around the world had grown at an average 6% per year since 2004.
Defined contribution assets accounted for 46.7% of the $32.9 trillion of assets in the six largest markets in 2014. That is flat compared with 46.6% in 2013. The six are the U.S., U.K., Australia, Netherlands, Canada and Japan.
However, since 2004, DC assets have grown from 38.9% across the six largest markets.
Australia has the highest proportion of DC to DB assets, at 85% and 15%, respectively. The U.S. relationship is 58% and 42%. They are the only two countries of those examined with a larger proportion of DC assets than DB.
In its commentary, Towers Watson said DC assets are expected to overtake defined benefit assets worldwide “in the next few years.”
In local currency terms, the largest retirement plan markets are the U.S., accounting for 61% of the total; followed by the U.K., 9%; and Japan, 8%.
The highest 10-year growth rates, in local currency terms, were 19% for Mexico, 13% for South Africa and Australia at 11%.
A spokeswoman could not be reached for further comment by press time.