Tue, Nov 25, 2014
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Industry Updates

Europe's incredible shrinking pension funds landscape

Friday, November 01, 2013
Opalesque Industry Update - The move to fewer, larger pension funds in key markets such as the Netherlands and United Kingdom could work to the advantage of asset management groups, according to the November issue of The Cerulli Edge-Global Edition.

A trimming of pillar II pension funds-many defined benefit but also some defined contribution-is well underway in Europe.

Switzerland's pension landscape, for example, shrunk from more than 2,700 vehicles six years ago to about 2,100 now. Cerulli understands that in three years there will be just 1,500.

The Dutch pension watchdog is even more ambitious with a target of 100 funds. There were 672 pension schemes in the Netherlands in 2012.

Elsewhere, more work is required.

"The United Kingdom has more than 200,000 schemes, which is clearly impractical," commented Barbara Wall, a Cerulli director. "Auto-enrolment will give rise to fewer, larger pension funds known as 'Super Trusts.' With size comes economies of scale and skills, which should result in better retirement products and improved outcomes for members."

Italy is also struggling with too many schemes. There are currently 361 so called "pre-existing" pension funds, each tied to a specific company. Asset managers and investors want the number reduced because some are so small they cannot invest in a meaningful way.

"One likely effect of a fall in the number of pension funds in Europe is that larger asset managers could find working with the survivors easier," said David Walker, a senior analyst at Cerulli. "Mid-size and smaller rivals may be too small to absorb large allocations."

Another potential winner, in the Netherlands at least, is premium pension institution (PPI) vehicles, because shuttering pension funds could join them. "This would be welcome news for a structure the Dutch pension industry hoped would take off, but has partially misfired. There are fewer than 10 PPIs," noted Walker.

Other Findings:

  • There are growing concerns that U.K. employees are not getting a good deal from individual defined contribution plans. The U.K. government is looking at alternatives-including collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, which are relatively inexpensive to administer and offer the potential for higher incomes in retirement.
  • If, as expected, Australian superannuation schemes spend more time looking overseas, they have the potential to bring considerable opportunity both on the debt and equity side. Very few super funds would feel they have the expertise to go it alone with, say, an Asia-Pacific equities strategy or European fixed income. For that, they still need external advice.
  • The number of U.S. buyouts is unlikely to increase dramatically, but it is an area that is generating interest among insurers. For asset managers, opportunities are enormous. Those possessing established relationships with insurers will benefit from flows into group and individual annuities, while others will enjoy the need for fixed-income expertise, liability-driven investing (LDI), and defined contribution investment-only (DCIO).

Cerulli

Press Release

BM

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. Investing - George Soros puts $500m of his money on Bill Gross, Soros, Paulson backed Hispania Activos mulls Realia takeover, Ex-Credit Suisse trader’s hedge fund sees yen shorts as crowded, Hedge hunters double default-swaps as views split, Large hedge fund positions come under pressure, Vikram Pandit's fund picks 50% stake in JM Financial's realty lending arm for $87m[more]

    George Soros puts $500m of his money on Bill Gross From WSJ.com: Before Bill Gross was fully settled in at his new firm, Janus Capital Group Inc., he received an unlikely visit from the chief investment officer of famed investor George Soros ’s firm, according to a person familiar with t

  2. Greenlight Re CEO says hedge fund reinsurance strategy buzz is validating[more]

    From Artemis.bm: The attention being paid to the hedge fund reinsurance business model and the fact that others are now looking to leverage bits of it within their own strategies, is validating for reinsurer Greenlight Capital Re, according to CEO Bart Hedges. There has been an increasing buzz

  3. Legal - Hedge fund manager fights £8m tax tribunal ruling[more]

    From FT.com: A hedge fund manager who may have to repay £8m in tax is trying to overturn a tribunal ruling that found he had attempted to shelter millions in an avoidance scheme. Patrick Degorce, chief investment officer at Theleme Partners, lost a tax tribunal case last year. HM Revenue & Customs c

  4. Europe - Hedge funds face exit tax as Iceland central bank discusses plan[more]

    From Bloomberg.com: Hedge funds and other creditors with claims against Iceland’s failed banks face an exit tax as the island looks for ways to unwind capital controls without hurting the economy. The government targets having a plan it can present by year-end that would map out how Iceland will sca

  5. Hedge fund Oceanwood raises $2bn, to close to new investors[more]

    From Reuters.com: Europe-focused hedge fund Oceanwood Capital Management is closing its fund to new investors after its assets under management hit $2 billion (1 billion pounds) recently, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. Oceanwood, a multi-strategy hedge fund spinout from Tudor Gro