In-depth regular coverage and asset manager surveys on European countries and regions
February 2024 (magazine)
Ireland’s bid to reduce the number of single-member DC pension funds is succeeding but is not without teething troubles
December 2023 (Magazine)
Plans are afoot to set up a new base in northern Norway to manage sovereign wealth assets
November 2023 (Magazine)
Diversification remains a key tool in pension fund portfolios
November 2023 (Magazine)
Fears of market concentration in asset management and custody services are leading Swiss Pensionskassen to rethink relations with the enlarged UBS
October 2023 (Magazine)
Several large Dutch pension funds are planning to move back into active management while others choose to go passive and further tweak their indices. But these two trends are not as contradictory as they may seem
September 2023 (Magazine)
Fierce opposition from trade unions and a large part of the political spectrum did not manage to stop Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reform the French pension system. The new framework kicks in this month, and the long-term sustainability of public pensions is secure. However, French workers will have to work longer into their lives, and their standard of living will decline.
July/August 2023 (Magazine)
Italian second-pillar occupational pension funds continue on their path to diversification. Owing to the higher yields on offer in traditional fixed income markets, allocations to private markets may slow down temporarily, but funds have made long-term strategic commitments. A variety of industry initiatives is facilitating investment in private equity, private debt and infrastructure. Meanwhile, some pension funds are consolidating their private markets portfolios.
June 2023 (Magazine)
Reputational issues are front of mind for the board of Alecta, Sweden’s largest pension fund, as it continues to digest the fallout from its ill-starred investments in Silicon Valley Bank and two other US financial institutions that collapsed in March this year.
May 2023 (Magazine)
UK pensions are at a crucial juncture. The UK Parliament’s inquiry into the LDI crisis of September 2022 shed some light on its causes, but the debate on the role of LDI is alive and well. Meanwhile, regulators including The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority have advised pension schemes on how to make LDI strategies more resilient to shocks.
April 2023 (Magazine)
The Netherlands is in the final legislative stages of what will probably be the largest and most complex workplace pension system change ever in the world. Yet as it edges towards the parliamentary finishing line, recent political events could yet knock the process off course.
March 2023 (Magazine)
Angela Merkel’s governments largely dodged the political hot potato of first-pillar pension reform, which means the current overhaul to the state system is overdue. But it barely gets to grips with the issues. For one, it does not deal with entitlements or increase the retirement age; second it introduces a funded component that will probably only take effect in the 2030s, when the post-war demographic peak is passing.
February 2023 (Magazine)
Ireland is preparing an Auto Enrolment Bill, which will kick-start the process of defined contribution pension reform in earnest, some 15 years after the concept was first mooted. The plan is for a Central Processing Authority to administer the system and for up to four providers to tender for a chance to manage member contributions.
January 2023 (Magazine)
Poland’s PPK auto-enrolment system marks its fourth anniversary this month. It can hardly be described as a complete success given the participation rate is stuck at just over a third of the working population. Some initial projections foresaw a 70% takeup level. But with assets approaching €2.5bn and rapidly growing, there is a sense that this is a relatively good outcome for a country with no tradition of independent retirement saving and where the previous second pillar system was radically overhauled just a few years ago, leaving ordinary citizens confused and mistrustful.
December 2022 (Magazine)
Nordic pension funds are getting to grips with biodiversity and natural capital in their investment portfolios, seeking to measure both the impact of companies they invest in and ways they can limit adverse effects on nature. Like other investors globally, many are just at the early stages of thinking about this - how they measure biodiversity, which metrics and approaches are gaining acceptance, and how best to report to stakeholders.
November 2022 (Magazine)
In Spain, the pension sector is giving a cautious thumbs up to workplace pension reform plans, even if they fall short of the industry’s wish list. Top of that list was mandatory auto-enrolment, which won’t now happen. But the planned national so-called Macro-fondo ‘super fund’ has met with general approval. It will be managed by the private sector but supervised by a control committee comprising government, employer and union representatives.
November 2022 (Magazine)
Our report on Swiss pensions also looks at the growing demand for so-called 1e plans, additional pension vehicles for higher earners. The 1e sector is ripe for consolidation, like the market for multi-employer pensions (Anlagestiftungen), where the federal regulator is concerned about a build-up of complexity and supervisory risks. We also cover the annual survey of the consultancy Complemeta and assess Swiss pension funds’ asset allocation plans.
October 2022 (Magazine)
The French pension system is in good health with a first-pillar pay-as-you-go system in surplus. But long-term forecasts are cause for concern, showing that the French state will have to raise expenditure on pensions from the current 13% to nearly 15% of GDP to maintain the system.
September 2022 (Magazine)
Pension schemes are turning to mergers as one way to cope with the rising costs of complying with greater regulation
July/August 2022 (Magazine)
Italy’s pension industry continues to develop, albeit at a slow pace. Italian pension funds are adapting their strategies to the volatile and uncertain market regime, by purchasing inflation-linked assets and by taking advantage of potentially higher yields on domestic government bonds. However, as our lead article highlights, they are generally staying true to their long-term diversification strategies, which consist of gradually allocating to alternatives including private equity, private debt and infrastructure. Some have bought shares in the Bank of Italy, a private equity-like investment.
June 2022 (Magazine)
We open our June Nordic Region report with a stark question: are asset managers living up to asset-owners expectations on ESG, in particular when it comes to climate change reporting?
May 2022 (Magazine)
The 80-plus local government pension funds in England and Wales have been on course to consolidate into eight asset pools for the last six years, with a target of €1-2bn in cost savings by 2033.
April 2022 (Magazine)
It took just over 100 days in office before Germany’s new coalition government announced a €500bn budget to first pillar pension financing, setting in motion an agreed reform process that would create a partially funded state pension system.