Letters From...

  • Gold investment returns to favour
    Features

    Letter from US: Gold investment returns to favour

    November 2020 (Magazine)

    “Negative real interest rates and unconventional monetary policies have been the catalyst of the new-found interest in gold,” says Jim McKee, a gold expert at Callan’s alternatives consulting group. 

  • Sam Sicilia
    Features

    Letter from Australia: Funding the future world

    November 2020 (Magazine)

    A handful of Australian superannuation funds are committing their members’ savings to the future world in terms of energy, water, technology and ideas. There will be successes and failures as ideas are developed and marketed.

  • Juukan Gorge - Aboriginal heritage site that was destroyed by Rio Tinto
    Features

    Letter from Australia: ESG stirs some ancient ghosts

    October (2020) Magazine

    In May this year, Rio Tinto blew up one of Western Australia’s most significant Aboriginal heritage sites.

  • CalPERS’s headquarters in Sacremento, California
    Features

    Letter from US: All eyes on CalPERS as CIO quits

    October (2020) Magazine

    The $405bn (€342bn) California Public Employee’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is the bellwether of US public pension funds. 

  • Angela Miller-May
    Features

    Letter from US: Diversity in asset management rises

    September 2020 (Magazine)

    “It is a part of your fiduciary duty to invest the fund’s assets in a prudent manner. Investing with diverse asset managers that demonstrate outperformance and deliver strong returns is more than prudent, it is wise.” 

  • Letter from Australia - Pooling for savings and strength
    Features

    Letter from Australia: Pooling for savings and strength

    September 2020 (Magazine)

    The government, the regulator and economic fallout from COVID-19 have combined to pressure Australia’s large and unwieldy pool of super funds towards consolidation. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).