We are optimistic that we are seeing the end of Phase 1, getting the virus under control. Italy and possibly Spain are getting closer to leveling off, as the strict social distancing protocols put in place in those countries looks to be having the right impact. It is early days, but we can see similar evidence in the US in Seattle, San Francisco and even New York.
On March 27th, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act, a massive stimulus package in response to the ongoing public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the many provisions included in the bill, there are several relating to retirement plans. This article provides a quick summary of these provisions.
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…
This week saw further disruption to daily life in the US and around the world. Equity markets continued to fall, credit spreads for all types widened significantly, volatility remains high and market liquidity is very poor.
Given the events that have transpired and that continue to transpire, here are our thoughts on what it will take to start to see markets recover.
Total pension buyout sales surpassed $11.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 6% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 and the highest quarterly total since Q4 2012. Total 2019 sales reached $28 billion, an increase of 5% from 2018 totals…
Over the month, pension plan discount rates fell even further from their already all-time lows. Equity markets were off to a positive start but, largely as a result of panic sell-offs surrounding the spread of coronavirus, took a drastic dive the final week of February…
We believe we are still in the Stable phase of the market, although recognize that short term volatility is likely to occur after such a strong run in markets.
To kick-off 2020, pension plans witnessed discount rates reversing course and falling further to all-time lows. Volatility returned to equity markets after months of relative calm. International equities were down for the month over concerns of the coronavirus impacting the global economy. Plans heavily interest rate hedged should see a stable funded status but many more plans will see a decline in funded status of a few percentage points. The good news is that markets have already started to rebound thus far in February.
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 plan sponsors expected for a typical pension plan. However, some sponsors utilized equity derivatives to make the investment portfolio work harder while managing risks more efficiently, and consequently saw their plans’ funded ratios materially increase over the same time period.