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North American Pensions - Top White Papers of 2017

The Top 16 North American Pension Papers of 2017

The following list consists of the winning paper and commended papers from the North American Pensions category of the Savvy Investor Awards 2017, as well as other works relevant to either the entire pension industry or the Canadian or American pension scene specifically.

Savvy Investor

WINNER: Designing the Future of TDFs: A blueprint for improving retirement outcomes (AB)
AB delves into target-date funds, their present-day model, and a potential improved design that includes a wider array of asset classes in order to both limit risk and build increasing amounts of retirement income.

COMMENDED: 2017 U.S. Investment Management Fee Survey (Callan)
This survey by Callan presents the findings of some recent research the company conducted into investment management fees. The report considers a variety of themes, such as current trends and fee payment practices.

COMMENDED: 2017 U.S. Defined Contribution Plan Sponsor Survey Findings (JP Morgan AM)
A recent survey shows that the transformation of DC plans continues, with plan sponsors and their funds shifting to a more relevant and modern view of financial security in retirement, from a more traditional one.

COMMENDED: Designing a modern DB retirement scheme Canadians want (CAAT Pension Plan)
A recent survey into Canada's retirement income system indicates that Canadians are willing to pay more to achieve specific retirement outcomes. The authors discuss this, and other observations.

COMMENDED: The Benefits of Real Assets Diversification in DC Plans (Cohen & Steers)
This Cohen & Steers paper makes the case for adding liquid real assets as a means of diversifying DC plan investment menus. As tapering starts to take effect, these assets may offer attractive returns going forward.

The Role of the Corporation in Society: Implications for Investors (Eaton Vance)
(For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in the USA and Canada)
This paper investigates two major themes: the ways sustainable business practices may impact financial valuations, and the valuation premium enjoyed by sustainability leaders in both equity and fixed income markets.

2018 Global Market Outlook (SSGA)
SSGA's Global Market Outlook argues that coming year should be supportive for risk assets. The report examines the key themes for 2018 and explores how investors should position their portfolios, given the current macroeconomical and geopolitical backdrop.

Global Pensions Asset Study 2017 (Willis Towers Watson)
The 2017 Global Pensions Asset Study covers over 20 pension markets, totaling USD 36 trillion in pension assets. An even deeper analysis was performed for seven pension markets, which together comprise 91.7% of total assets.

Growth Readiness for Asset Owners: The Power of Asset Intelligence (State Street)
How can institutional investors be more successful in protecting and growing the assets that have been entrusted to them? State Street identifies key areas that asset owners should prioritize to strengthen their growth strategies.

Broken Promises: The Coming Global Pension Crisis (RWC)
Ian Lance looks at the extent to which different types of pensions across the globe are underfunded, the factors that led to this situation, and the potential implications dealing with the shortfall. This could have a deflationary impact.

Understanding Investment Committee Responsibilities (CFA Institute Research)
The CFA Institute Research Foundation provides a comprehensive discussion of investment issues relevant to investment trustees, such as governance policies, objectives, and performance assessments.

2017 Global Survey of Accounting Assumptions for DB Plans (Willis Towers Watson)
This report by Willis Towers Watson mainly explores economic assumptions for DB pension plans, especially mortality assumptions, due to increased longevity of participants.

Global Investment Management Fees: New Savings, New Challenges (bfinance)
New data from bfinance reveals an environment typified by the duality of falling fees across highly competitive sectors, yet new fashionable product launches such as unconstrained funds.

U.S. Multiemployer DB Plans: Unique Investment Challenges (Cambridge Associates)
Adaptive and sophisticated strategies are necessary to serve the unique features, constraints, and needs of multiemployer plans. This paper by Cambridge Associates explores what this might look like in reality.

Discount Rate Sensitivities in Canadian Pension Plans (Society of Actuaries)
After carefully examining pension plan risks, liabilities, and discount rates, the authors conclude that the most important determining factor of discount rate sensitivity is the proportion of retired and active members of the plan.

Funding Ratio Peaks and Stalls (Financial Analysts Journal)
In this article, the authors discuss the ways in which funding ratios change and evolve over time, and introduce the “fulfillment return” as a concept that helps to explain the limits of the traditional single-point funding ratio stat.

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