Thu, Nov 26, 2015
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

Global pension assets up 8% in 2010 with 7.6% real return on UK pension funds

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Duncan McKenzie
  • Global pension assets up estimated 8% to $31.1 trillion in 2010
  • UK defined benefit schemes see record £201bn deficit in 2009 turned into surplus in 2010
  • 7.6% real return on UK pension funds in 2010 but only 1.7% average over decade
  • Derisking strategies widely adopted by defined benefit pension schemes
  • UK government legislating to put financing of pensions on sustainable basis
  • UK employment in those of retirement age up 74,000 in first 9 months of 2010

The total value of pension assets managed globally rose by an estimated 8% to $31.1 trillion in 2010, building on an 11% upturn in 2009, but have still to recover the high of $31.9 trillion reached in 2007. The Pension Markets report from TheCityUK, the independent membership body promoting the UK financial and related professional services industry, notes that UK defined benefit (DB) schemes remain focused on derisking. This is despite the improved funding position for UK pension schemes: recovering equity markets contributed to the record £201bn deficit of DB pension schemes in 2009 being turned into a £22bn surplus in 2010.

Concern about long-term growth in liabilities linked to rising life expectancy is the prime driver of derisking. A central strategy has been closure of DB schemes to new members: employees in open DB schemes have fallen by three quarters from 4.1m in 2000 to 1.0m in 2009. The share of UK DB private sector schemes remaining open to new members has declined to 21% in 2010 from 35% in 2006.

Other means of derisking include lowering allocation to equities, down to 42% from 75% over the past ten years. Some companies are transferring responsibility for DB pension schemes to insurance companies: the insurance buyout market was worth around £7bn in 2008 and 2009. Costs have also been reduced with contributions to DC schemes, at 9% of salary, running at less than half the 20% of salary to open DB schemes.

The UK government has been legislating to put financing of pensions on a sustainable basis. The state pension age is being raised to improve affordability and the default retirement age is being removed to facilitate ongoing employment for those who wish to keep working. The CPI is to replace the RPI as the legal minimum for pension indexation, reducing the cost to employers of DB commitments and decreasing pensions of DB beneficiaries. The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is being introduced to encourage a broader spread of pension provision amongst those on low and middle incomes. As a first step in reviewing the financing of public sector pensions the Hutton Commission has established a set of principles against which long-term options for reform should be judged.

Duncan McKenzie, Head of Research at TheCityUK, said: "The real rate of return on UK pension funds was 7.6% in 2010, building on the 15.7% rise in 2009. But four years of negative returns over the past decade mean that real returns during that period have averaged only 1.7% a year, well below the long-term average real return of 4.3% a year over the past half century."

In recent years, more people over the age of 65 have been supplementing their pension by staying in work. UK employment amongst this age group was up by 74,000 in the first 9 months of 2010, and in total has virtually doubled from 426,000 in 2000 to 844,000 in September 2010.

The UK, with pension assets totalling $2.5 trillion, remains the second largest market, accounting for 9% of total assets worldwide. UK assets are only exceeded by the dominant US market where assets of $18.1 trillion make up nearly two thirds of the global total...Full press release:Source

What do you think?

   Use "anonymous" as my name    |   Alert me via email on new comments   |   
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing

  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Other Voices: Hedge fund marketing and the selling cycle[more]

    By Bruce Frumerman. How long is the selling cycle now? That’s a question my financial communications and sales marketing consulting firm has been asked on a regular basis by hedge fund firm owners and sales people, ever since we opened the doors to our firm in 1987 pre-crash. Wa

  2. Investing - BlackRock targets ETF investors with flexible currency hedging, Nelson Peltz bets on General Electric Company and Mondelez International, Apple plummets to 4th place among hedge holdings, from No. 1, Top Q3 equity purchases and sales of top 50 hedge funds[more]

    BlackRock targets ETF investors with flexible currency hedging From BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, is changing course on exchange-traded funds that protect against currency volatility. After stressing the easy switch between hedged and unhedged ET

  3. BlackRock is shutting down its Global Ascent macro fund[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has announced plans to shut down a macro fund, Global Ascent Fund, because of "headwinds facing the industry". The hedge fund, which makes bets on stock, bond and currency markets, will return money to investors. Ac

  4. Opalesque Roundtable: Seeding deal terms can be onerous for hedge funds[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva for New Managers: Executives from fund of funds firms, family offices, a placement agent, a private equity firm, and an accounting firm gathered in Connecticut last month for the

  5. Opalesque Roundtable: Family offices flock to co-investment[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Co-investments have been a hot topic for pension funds in recent years, as they try to move away from high fees and improve transparency. But now, family offices are more readily getting into the mix and establishing in-house deal teams, according to the delega