Asset managers have all issued their outlooks for the forthcoming arbitrary 12-month period. 

While I won’t be predicting where I think the S&P 500 will finish or what the price of Bitcoin will be come December, there are a few things that will definitely be of interest to IPE readers over the course of 2018.

Dutch reform. The Netherlands has one of the most highly regarded systems in the world. The next steps in its evolution – including the introduction of a form of flexible benefits – will be of interest to policy makers across the continent. Read the latest on page 6.

• The rise of defined contribution. The Netherlands, Germany, the UK and Ireland are all shifting further into the world of defined contribution, with varying approaches to the problem of balancing member protections with affordability for employers.

• Balance of power. With the UK now sidelined in most EU negotiations, the Dutch have lost an important ally on pension issues. Consensus on regulations could become more difficult if the influence of Germany and France grows, given the significant differences between both pension systems.

• Regulatory damp squibs. MiFID II will shake up the way asset managers pay for research (see our special report from page 51), but the effect on asset owners will be minimal. In the UK, watch out for a charm offensive from fiduciary managers to ward off significant action from the competition watchdog.

• Consolidation. This is well under way in the Netherlands – as well as English and Welsh public-sector schemes – but with a UK government paper expected imminently from the Department for Work and Pensions, look out for rule changes to clear the way for private-sector consolidation.

It might be fanciful to hope for an uneventful 2018. Let’s hope it’s a profitable one, at least. 

Nick Reeve, News Editor