GLOBAL - At a time when private equity is causing controversy, a clear majority of pension funds has voted it the most interesting asset class for 2008, according to the results of this month's Global Pensions 100 Panel.
Commented Jane Welsh, a UK consultant at Watson Wyatt: "During the past two years private equity has attracted substantial interest from UK pension funds and the number of new mandates awarded by Watson Wyatt has increased six-fold.
"We expect the trend towards increasing diversification using alternatives - including private equity - to continue in the future, as investment opportunities in this area persist."
SRI products came bottom in the survey, not receiving a single vote from the pension funds in the panel. However, this does not appear to mean SRI is unimportant to pension funds.
"We will be allocating capital across the assets identified [in the survey] and, as signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment, integrating RI into them rather than looking for separate SRI products," stated one respondent.
Another said: "The most challenging aspect for 2008 and beyond is how to ensure that investment portfolios account for the risks of climate change."
The Global Pensions 100 Panel also found the majority of pension funds were pleased with their performance so far in 2007.
Some 37% of respondents rated overall satisfaction with their investment portfolio as "excellent", while 52% chose "fair". Only 11% of respondents claimed to have been disappointed.
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Martin Freeman has been hired as head of technology product and development at Smart Pension, to support the 'growing' technology product side of the business.
Tim Sharp says the government has missed some big opportunities to help workers in the DB white paper.
The FCA and TPR have announced their joint strategy for tackling the key risks facing pensions in the next decade. Victoria Ticha explores the plan and the industry's initial reaction.