GLOBAL - Global pension assets rose about 8% to $31.1trn in 2010, research shows.
The total value of pension assets managed globally recovered by 11% from $25.9trn in 2008 to $28.8trn at the end of 2009, but failed to recover the high of $31.9trn reached in 2007, research by independent financial membership body TheCityUK found.
Its Pensions Market report said the US continues to dominate worldwide, with 63% of pension assets. A further five countries - the UK (9%), Canada (6%), Japan (4%), the Netherlands (4%) and Australia (3%) - account for a third of assets.
In total the report looks at pension assets from 70 countries. A separate study by Towers Watson looked at the world's 13 largest pension markets studies and found assets hit a new high of $26trn at the end of 2010, up 12% during the year. The report also found the US remained the largest market with over $15trn in pension assets followed by Japan with $3.4trn and UK with $2.2trn (Global Pensions: 7 February 2011).
The Pensions Market report also found a 7.6% real return on UK pension funds helped swing a deficit in 2009 of £201bn ($326bn) to a surplus of £22bn last year. The increase was due to exposure to improving equity markets and alternative asset classes such as hedge funds, said the firm.
TheCityUK head of research Duncan McKenzie said: "The real rate of return on UK pension funds was 7.6% in 2010, building on the 15.7% rise in 2009. But four years of negative returns over the past decade mean that real returns during that period have averaged only 1.7% a year, well below the long-term average real return of 4.3% a year over the past half century."
This week's top stories included Legal & General acquiring MyFutureNow to provide a dashboard service to customers, while also agreeing a hybrid buy-in with a Hitachi scheme.
NEST has signed up to the government-backed Star Initiative, taking all of its 8 million members' pension pots with it.
It is perhaps inherently difficult to find an agreed definition of value for money, but some methodologies could act as a stopgap, argues Jonathan Stapleton.