FRANCE - The small level of funded schemes in France have not suffered as badly as many other funded schemes in Europe from the declining equity markets, mainly due to the late entry into the equity markets for most funds.
The levels of exposure to equities are too recent to be a major problem, said Roland Lescure, head of strategy and research at CDC IXIS Asset Management in Paris.
That said, there still remains a significant underfunding problem and a major difference exists between smaller funds and larger more established funds that are more able to cope with the market downturn.
Lescure also pointed to an increase in the use of hedge fund of funds as the larger funds attempt to diversify. This, he said, was as an alternative to equities rather than on top.
The global balanced mandate has traditionally ruled, but increasing numbers of ALM studies are being carried out and a move to specialist mandates has emerged.
Investment consultants, although still a very small part of the overall French pension’s scene, are beginning to emerge.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) is in the process of convening an industry-wide group to take forward the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG).
The Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has given its support to an initiative which aims to complete occupational pension transfers within three weeks.
Scottish Widows has completed a bulk annuity deal for the Hitachi UK Limited Pension Scheme.