Pension fund sponsors might want to ask Crane Co. if they can borrow its "crystal ball."
Crane's $300 million pension fund was 85% equity just before the stunning market decline that began in midsummer and extended to early fall.
Looking back recently on the turmoil in the equity markets, Gil Dickoff, treasurer of the Stamford, Conn.-based company, said, "We would have done better if we were not in the equity market at all" during the drop. So would have everyone.
But Mr. Dickoff noted Crane's pension committee reduced significantly the equity allocation July 1, just four weeks before the market plunged.
Was it a reallocation to regain the original policy mix?
"No, it was crystal ball-type stuff," Mr. Dickoff said. "It was the committee's view of where they thought the market was going."
The committee moved the fund's asset allocation to 60% equity and 40% fixed income, from 85% equity and 15% fixed income.
The committee meets every quarter and - without the assistance of a consultant - seriously reviews the asset allocation, he said. The July move was the first allocation change the committee has made in about two years, he added.
Right now, the fund is sticking with its more conservative asset mix.