Director of Research & Analytics
Aaron is responsible for developing and overseeing the Research Center and P&IQ. He joined P&I in 2008 as data editor, where he developed graphic content and analysis. Aaron has a B.S. in Business Administration, finance concentration, from Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he graduated summa cum laude. He also has a M.S. in Accountancy from Loyola University Chicago, where he graduated with High Dean's Honors. He obtained the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation in 2010.
Pensions & Investments will soon launch a new database to cover private funds closings, tracking back to 2010.Assets invested in private equity, credit strategies, real assets and real estate have soared over the past decade. The database will track large institutional funds with more than $1 billion in total commitments. This is the first database that will utilize P&I's new design of the Research Center, a project that provided more data points and increased analytics.
Defined contribution record keepers have begun to integrate with personal digital assistants. In Pensions & Investments' latest survey, six of 36 record keepers reported integration with a digital assistant. The record keepers with integration are some of the largest companies, including Fidelity Investments, TIAA-CREF and Alight Solutions. Voice-activated digital assistants can reach almost 40 million participants with more than $3.5 trillion in assets.
Search activity for the second quarter of 2018 increased 1.7% from the prior quarter, and 22.7% from the second quarter of 2017. There were 21 domestic equity searches up sparply from the period a year ago. This included Fonds de Reserve pour les Retraites' $4.8 billion in U.S. equity searches. Contrastingly, global equity searches were down more 50% year over year.
The 44th Pensions & Investments' special report on U.S. retirement assets illuminates investing trends of the nation's largest plan sponsors. With strong market returns for the year ended Sept. 30, 2017, assets of the 1,000 largest U.S. retirement plan sponsors increased to an all-time high. Total assets increased to $10.326 trillion, up 10% from a year earlier. Defined contribution assets increased significantly faster than defined benefit assets.
A confluence of macroeconomic factors and a profound shift in the goals of corporations since the global financial crisis have dramatically accelerated corporate plan sponsors shifting defined benefit pension risk off their balance sheet through pension risk transfers.