All Letter from the US articles – Page 6

  • Opinion Pieces

    Letter from the US: Pensions and start-ups

    November 2014 (Magazine)

    Can pension funds play a greater role in stimulating start-ups and economic growth? Some US politicians think so and are trying to deploy public retirement assets for this goal. But critics claim that results have been disappointing so far, mostly because pension funds invest through private equity funds that demand very high fees. So a new idea is gaining support – pension funds investing directly in private companies, cutting out intermediaries.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Woody at work

    October 2014 (Magazine)

    Woody is the villain of the new book The US Pension Crisis – What We Need to Do Now to Save America’s Pensions, by Ronald Ryan. According to Ryan, Woody is the “pension pencil” or “the weapon of mass destruction in financial America”, used since the 1990s for accounting gimmicks that conceal the real financial situation of pension funds. 

  • Opinion Pieces

    Rethink on alternatives

    September 2014 (Magazine)

    After five strong years in the equity markets, some US pension funds are disappointed by the performance of their alternative assets and moving out, while others are keeping them but focusing on de-risking.

  • Opinion Pieces

    On track with 401(k)

    July 2014 (Magazine)

    Individual retirement savings accounts (IRAs) have been helping US workers navigate the ups and downs of Wall Street since the 2008 financial crisis. IRAs and employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) plans grew to $6.5trn and $5.9trn (€4.8trn and €4.3trn), respectively, at year-end 2013, up from $5.6trn and $5trn the previous year, according to data in the 2014 Investment Company Fact Book.

  • Opinion Pieces

    TIAA-CREF expands

    June 2014 (Magazine)

    Six years after taking the helm as president and CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), Roger Ferguson announced the acquisition of Nuveen Investments in April for $6.25bn (€4.5bn), including debt.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Glide paths and targets

    May 2014 (Magazine)

    Target-date funds (TDFs) are so popular in the US that even the nation’s largest defined contribution (DC) pension system – the $400bn (€290bn) Thrift Savings Plan, the 401(k)-style retirement plan for federal staff – is thinking of making its TDF the default option for new employees. But with an increasingly diverse array of TDFs, concern is growing  among plan sponsors and advisers about the level of fiduciary responsibility involved.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Retirement saving boost

    April 2014 (Magazine)

    Who will manage the new My Retirement Account (MyRA) retirement savings vehicle? This is a big question for the US pension fund industry now that President Barack Obama has created the new programme.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Intriguing opportunities

    March 2014 (Magazine)

    De-risking strategies are likely to become more popular with US corporate pension funds now they have reached their healthiest state since the crisis. This trend has been ongoing for the last couple of years but may substantially accelerate in 2014, says consultancy Towers Watson.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Time to face facts

    February 2014 (Magazine)

    The Detroit bankruptcy ruling and the new bookkeeping rules from the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) could trigger a wave of changes for the US state and local pension funds this year. Government leaders struggling with budget problems, bondholders that lend money to municipalities and states, and unions that negotiate pension benefits all have to deal with the impact.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Not ready yet

    January 2014 (Magazine)

    ‘Retirement readiness’ is the catch phrase of 2014 in the US pension industry.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Too big to fail?

    December 2013 (Magazine)

    Are US asset management firms ‘too big to fail’? In other words, do they represent systemic risks similar to those posed by the largest banks, so much that they must be subject to ‘enhanced’ supervision? 

  • Opinion Pieces

    Activist stances

    November 2013 (Magazine)

    US public pension funds are slowly recovering from their worst years, 2008-09, when their assets fell to a low of $2.1trn (€1.6trn). In the latest fiscal year ending 30 June 2013, assets increased 8.4%

  • Institutional interest in healthcare sector growing, survey says
    Opinion Pieces

    The assets of healthcare

    October 2013 (Magazine)

    A trend that has already taken place in pensions is now happening in the healthcare sector in the US

  • The Fifth Analyst Call
    Opinion Pieces

    Retirement on course

    September 2013 (Magazine)

    Five years after the Lehman collapse, Americans’ retirement savings look like they have overcome the shock and are growing steadily. In fact they’ve reached the record amount of $20.8trn (€15.7trn) according to the latest data published by the Investment Company Institute (ICI), the national association of US investment companies.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Fink’s nod to Australia

    June 2013 (Magazine)

    Are mandatory saving accounts coming to the US? It looks possible after BlackRock chairman and CEO, Laurence Fink, said they should be part of a comprehensive solution to the retirement funding crisis.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Letter from the US: Retirement concerns

    May 2013 (Magazine)

    “Our priority is to be sure that Americans save enough for retirement,” explains CEO and executive director of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA), Brian Graff. The problem is that Americans are not saving enough, because of the way pension plans are offered and structured, and because of the economic situation.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Step-change for DC

    April 2013 (Magazine)

    “Our retirement philosophy is changing the industry”. So says Glenn Dial, head of retirement for Allianz Global Investors (AGI). Dial has been in charge of this business in the US since February 2011, focusing on a target-date strategy that is reinforced by the findings from AGI’s Centre for Behavioural Finance.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Big picture questions

    March 2013 (Magazine)

    BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, has reached a record $3.8trn (€2.8trn) in assets, about 60% of which is for institutional clients, including pensions. CEO Larry Fink, commenting on his firm’s 2012 results, said that the institutional business will launch a “strategic client programme” this year.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Letter from the US: Back from the edge

    February 2013 (Magazine)

    If there was a clear message from the whole ‘fiscal cliff’ debate, it is that social security will be affected sooner or later. Employees need to realise that company-sponsored pension plans will become an even more important supplement to their retirement income.

  • Opinion Pieces

    Letter from the US: Battle of the benefits

    January 2013 (Magazine)

    Obama’s healthcare reform will be the biggest new law affecting US companies in 2013. But will it have an impact on pension funds? Healthcare and retirement benefits are managed separately, but a change in costs for the former will eventually affect the latter.