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The World's Largest 1000 Pension Funds - 2017

The Largest Funds by Assets under Management

The World's 1000 biggest pension funds between them have assets under management exceeding $16trn. Within the top 20 funds (each with over $110bn AUM) the asset allocation is 42% equities, 37% fixed income, 21% alternatives / cash, according to Willis Towers Watson's latest report.

Below we list two recent reports which provide insight into the largest global pension funds, and curate some of the best pensions white papers recently uploaded to the Savvy Investor research platform.

piggy bank largest pension funds

The world’s 300 largest pension funds (Willis Towers Watson, Sept 2017)
This detailed report by Willis Towers Watson provides invaluable insights into the financial state of the largest 300 pension funds in the world. The U.S. continues to hold its position as the country with the largest share of pension assets.

Global Pensions Asset Study 2017 (Willis Towers Watson, June 2017)
The 2017 Global Pensions Asset Study covers 22 major pension markets, which total USD 36,435 billion in pension assets and account for 62.0% of the GDP of these economies. China, Finland and Italy were added to this year’s study.

Global Investment Management Fees: New Savings, New Challenges (bfinance)
This 16-page report from bfinance provides insight into fees in asset management; the trends and pressures.

Broken Promises: The Coming Global Pension Crisis (RWC, July 2017)
In this article by RWC Partners, the author considers one of today's largest and yet least discussed issues: the extent to which different types of pensions across the globe are underfunded.

2017 Global Survey of Accounting Assumptions for DB Plans (Willis Towers Watson)
In broad terms, accounting standards aim to enable employers to approximate the cost of an employee's pension and other post-retirement benefit over the employee's service tenure. Any benefit accounting method that recognizes the cost of benefits before their payment becomes due must be based on estimates or assumptions about future events that will determine the amount and timing of benefit payments. Although this report by Willis Towers Watson mainly explores economic assumptions, the authors show data regarding mortality assumptions, which are receiving closer attention because of increasing longevity.

Decomposing Funding-Ratio Risk: Key Insights for Pension Funds (BNP Paribas AM)
This report by BNP Paribas Asset Management was recently published in the Journal of Portfolio Management. It makes an important contribution to the area of risk management by focusing on funding-ratio risk.

Sizing up Europe's corporate pension gap (Invesco, 2017)
(For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in certain countries)

This paper by Invesco examines the funding gap in Europe's corporate DB pension schemes. While a regional problem, it is more acute for UK-based funded schemes due to the UK’s regulatory oversight and its requirement to renew deficit funding plans every three years.

2017 U.S. DC Plan Sponsor Survey Findings (JP Morgan Asset Management, Aug 2017)
This report by JP Morgan AM confirms that the evolution of DC plans continues, with plan sponsors and their organizations transitioning from a traditional view - simply attracting and retaining employees - to a sharper focus of helping as many employees as possible reach a financially secure retirement.

FTSE 350 DB Pension Scheme Survey (Willis Towers Watson, July 2017)
This 2017 Willis Towers Watson report discusses the impact of defined benefit pension schemes on company accounts (as at 31 December 2016) and how companies are managing their pensions risk.

U.S. Pension Staff Salary Database (Pension360, 2017)
This Pension Staff Salary Database by Pension360 contains searchable data of thousands of pension staff salaries from U.S. public sector pension funds.

2016 US Pension Review (Goldman Sachs Asset Management, 2017)
This 15-page report by Goldman Sachs Asset Management presents the findings of a recent survey on the state of defined benefit pension plans in the S&P 500.

UK Pension Fund Indicators 2017 (UBS Asset Management, Aug 2017)
UBS AM Pension Fund Indicators 2017 is an annual publication with an enduring aim of putting current topics in their long-term context. As an industry-standard text on pension fund investment this is a useful source of data, practical explanations and latest industry trends.

Designing the Future of TDFs: A new blueprint for improving outcomes (AB, 2017)
TDFs are becoming the most critical pool of assets for meeting the retirement needs of U.S. workers. But we fear that many of the current funds are managed as relics of the past and don’t incorporate today’s best practices and solutions.

The Australian Superannuation Industry (ASFA, 2017)
The Australian superannuation industry is now one of the largest retirement savings pools in the world with assets of around $2.2 trillion. This paper gives a helpful historical overview of the industry.

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