Structured Equity can Increase Funded Status – A Successful Investment Strategy for the Past, Present, and Future
Challenging investment markets in 2020 have undone years of improvement in the funding levels of corporate defined benefit pension plans. The funding level of a typical plan, as noted in a recent study by Mercer, fell from 88% at the end of 2019 to 80% at the end of April . However, pension plan sponsors do not need to accept that significant funding level declines are the inevitable consequence of tough markets. It is possible to do much better.
We find ourselves in difficult times. The global effects of COVID-19 have wreaked havoc on investment markets, on daily life and on institutional investment pools such as pension funds and endowments. Treasury yields have plummeted, credit spreads have widened, and major equity indices have fallen to levels not seen since 2016. In times like these, many investors are wondering how they can possibly find their way out…
In 2019 plan sponsors witnessed a familiar, albeit more extreme, combination of returns that has also been the theme of the entire previous decade. Equities rallied, long term interest rates fell, and funding levels didn’t increase to levels that...
Public sector and church pension plan sponsors face unique but similar financial challenges. This paper covers an alternative approach to constructing investment portfolios that can better help meet their needs by seeking equal to or greater investment returns with less funded status volatility than conventional investment strategies.
A Powerful 3 Step Strategy: Increase Expected Return on Pension Assets at the Same (or Lower) Level of Funded Status Risk
It is possible for pension plan sponsors to increase expected returns on assets by 100 to 300 basis points (1-3%) per year for the same or lower funded status risk. The process and steps are spelled out below. Follow along and you’ll see how to increase expected returns, potentially cutting years off of the time required to reach full funding while also decreasing the pension expense reported in the financial statements.
Double Digit Equity Returns 2019 YTD — how do you protect your equity position for the rest of the year?
With both international and US equity markets up approximately 15% year-to-date reversing most of the 4th quarter 2018 correction, many plan sponsors are asking themselves “should we consider any changes to protect the equity gains that we have…
Private Equity is illiquid and challenging to benchmark. Many investors use “S&P 500 +3%” in order to compare performance in the absence of an observable, investable asset. This paper describes a methodology for creating a private equity proxy or replication strategy using derivatives.
Recent bouts of volatility have made headlines and questions are being asked of one of the longest equity bull markets in history. However, strategies to protect against declines in the equity market have been steadily getting cheaper and are now at multi year lows…
Pension plan sponsors, especially those with frozen pension plans, have spent significant time deciding on the most appropriate balance between growth (return seeking/equities) and hedging (liability matching/long-term bonds) assets to meet their objectives. For most, the ideal goal is to fully fund the pension plan through a balance of investment performance, cash contributions and a rising interest rate environment while not subjecting themselves to higher than desired funded status risk.
As the bull market in US equities approaches its 9 year anniversary we look at how to protect against market declines while retaining equity upside exposure.