Letters From...

  • Scott Morrison
    Features

    Letter from Australia: Paltry pickings in the political pie

    July/August 2020 (Magazine)

    As deficits mount in a post-COVID-19 world, politicians and bureaucrats are again eyeing national pension savings – hundreds of billions of dollars they can capture at the stroke of a legislative pen.

  • Robert O’Brien
    Features

    Letter from US: Politics forcing divestment

    July/August 2020 (Magazine)

    American pension funds have become embroiled in the cold war between the US and China and diversification strategies may be affected by the new scrutiny of investments in Chinese companies.

  • Meghan Murphy 2016
    Features

    Letter from US: Investors and savers hold steady in the face of the pandemic

    June 2020 (Magazine)

    During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many investors stayed the course and did not make drastic changes to their asset allocations or to their saving rates. That is according to the first quarter 2020 retirement analysis by Fidelity Investments of more than 30m 401(k), Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and 403(b) retirement accounts in the US. Data updated to 17 April confirm the trends.

  • Neil Lloyd
    Features

    Letter from US: Short-term relief, long-term pain

    May 2020 (Magazine)

    The COVID-19 pandemic is having an immediate and transparent impact on American defined contribution plans. But it also has implications for defined benefit plans in the long run

  • Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders
    Features

    Letter from US: The Democratic agenda takes shape

    April 2020 (Magazine)

    “On day one, [Joe] Biden will use the full authority of the executive branch to make progress and significantly reduce emissions. Biden recognises we must go further, faster and more aggressively than ever before, by (among other things) requiring public companies to disclose climate risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.” That is Joe Biden’s ‘Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice’ as it appears on joebiden.com, the official campaign website.

  • Jennifer Lewis
    Features

    Letter from the US: Lower rates, deeper holes

    March 2020 (Magazine)

    Something unprecendented happened in the US in the first weeks of January when the Milliman 100 PFI discount rate fell 35bps to a 20-year low of 2.85% “It was a very poor month for defined benefit (DB) plans, not a good start of the year and it dug an even deeper hole in their financial situation,” points out Zorast Wadia, principal, consulting actuary at Milliman. He is also author of the Milliman 100 pension funding index (PFI), an annual study of the 100 largest DB pension plans sponsored by US public companies.  

  • Neil Lloyd
    Features

    Letter From US: New Secure Act – a step in the right direction

    February 2020 (Magazine)

    New rules encourage employers to offer annuities in 401(k)-type retirement plans

  • Martin_Schmalz
    Features

    Letter From US: Concerns over common ownership unabated

    January 2020 (Magazine)

    No matter who wins the presidential election this November the issue of concentration of US corporate ownership by the Big Three money managers – BlackRock, Vanguard and SSGA – will not go away

  • john delaney
    Analysis

    Letter from the US: US pension funds braced for lower for longer

    December 2019 (Magazine)

    The last edition of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) twice-yearly Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) points to the risks that lower-for-longer yields pose, especially for pension funds. 

  • alicia munnell
    Analysis

    Letter from the US: Industry debates private equity role in 401(k) plans

    November 2019 (Magazine)

    Should those who invest through 401(k) retirement plans have greater access to private equity? 

  • jean pierre aubry
    Analysis

    Letter from The US: How boards can hurt pension plans

    October 2019 (Magazine)

    US state and local pension funds manage over $4trn (€3.6trn) in retirement assets for 20m active and retired plan members. But most of the funds are in bad financial shape.

  • considering controversy
    Analysis

    Letter from Canada: Considering controversy

    September 2019 (Magazine)

    Pension funds have essentially one goal – invest and grow the fund for members. But what if money-making investments run afoul of environmental, social and governance practices?

  • bob melia
    Analysis

    Letter from the US: On a secure retirement path

    July/August 2019 (magazine)

    The most significant changes to US retirement plans in more than a decade look set to be approved by Congress. On 23 May, the House of Representatives passed the Secure Act – Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement – by 417-3, and the Senate is also likely to approve it, with President Donald Trump unopposed.

  • screen shot 2019 05 29 at 13.10.11
    Analysis

    Letter from the US: Practitioners defend ESG from executive threat

    June 2019 (Magazine)

    The proxy season was different in the US this time around. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) resolutions – as well as the use of those criteria for investing – are under scrutiny by the Trump administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

  • Analysis

    Personalised TDFs on the rise

    May 2019 (Magazine)

    The newest trend in 401(k) plans is launching personalised versions of target-date funds (TDFs)

  • syed kamall
    Analysis

    Brussels People: Europe’s conservatives eye Africa

    April 2019 (Magazine)

    Describing himself as “the most senior elected Brit in Brussels” and speaking ahead of 29 March when he and the UK’s 72 other MEPs were set to relinquish their mandate in the European Parliament, Syed Kamall is keen to speak about matters other than Europe

  • zorast wadia
    Analysis

    Letter from the US: The $20bn club shifts strategy

    April 2019 (Magazine)

    The funded status of US corporate defined benefit (DB) plans is getting better, thanks to investment gains and higher corporate bond interest rates that decrease liabilities. 

  • pervenche beres
    Analysis

    Firebrand targets supervision

    March 2019 (Magazine)

    One of the knottier issues in Brussels at the moment is the future of the European supervisory authorities 

  • Analysis

    Hedge funds under scrutiny

    March 2019 (Magazine)

    Last year was good for hedge funds in terms of raising new money. But at the same time the industry suffered its biggest annual loss since 2011

  • brian hayes
    Analysis

    Banking on life after politics

    February 2019 (Magazine)

    At 49, Brian Hayes is young man by political standards. Having started in Irish politics early with his appointment to the Irish Senate in the mid 1990s, Hayes was elected to the Dáil, the lower house, before he was 30, taking a seat for the Fine Gail party.