Preferences change. Tastes develop over time. You probably appreciate more and different foods than you did when you were a child. You change your diet to meet your needs – foods to benefit your heart, your cholesterol, your weight. You may even have a special menu designed specifically for you by a doctor or dietitian The investment industry is seeing a marked shift towards an era where this kind of evolution and customization will be key to success.
For years, investment managers have taken alpha to mean “beating a benchmark.” Alpha, as traditionally defined, is the excess return earned above a market index through active management. The manager was given a target and expected to beat it. That flavor of alpha is now giving way to solutions alpha. Read more
Does anyone remember the classic board game Risk? I had a good childhood friend who loved to play this game. It required a lot of patience, strategy and a good sense of timing – I could never get the hang of it. (Then Atari came along – forget about it!)
Fast forward 30 years. In the course of writing this blog, I’ve had many discussions with actuary friends. Time and time again, these same themes keep popping up: de-risking tactics take time to develop, a careful strategy must be employed and timing of your action can greatly impact the results.
I’m sure these guys would have dominated me at Risk.
In an earlier post, Helping DB Plan Sponsors Sleep at Night, I discussed several ways in which DB plan sponsors can manage their risk. Below, I’ll provide more detail on each option. You can see that patience, strategy and timing all come into play. Read more
I know what you’re thinking. First Kenny Rogers and now the Rolling Stones? Why does this guy keep quoting 1980s songs and relating them to defined benefit (DB) plans?
Well, there were two things I did during my summer nights as a teenager growing up in the ’80s that left a lifelong impact on me – listening to music and dreaming about DB plans. Didn’t we all? More on this later….
Anyway, in my last post, I introduced the idea of dynamic asset allocation (DAA) as a DB plan risk management strategy. This strategy works particularly well with hard frozen DB plans.
What does Kenny Rogers have to do with pension plans? Well, nothing really. But as I sat down to write my LDI blog post, I thought about how many plan sponsors gamble with their pension plan investments.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, the behavior of the stock market has little to do with the way a defined benefit (DB) plan’s liabilities react. Yet many DB plan sponsors make big bets by allocating a large portion of their plan portfolios to stocks— without considering plan liabilities. (After all, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”) Read more
In my previous blog, I talked about risk as it relates to managing a defined benefit (DB) pension plan. The long and short of it is that risk is what happens when DB plan sponsors are busy making other assumptions.
Today, the combination of several factors—including market volatility, low interest rates and recent legislation—has created significant challenges for DB plan sponsors. Fortunately, the pension industry is helping plan sponsors manage these risks with a number of innovative approaches.
How do you spell DB? I probably asked myself that same question early on in my career in the retirement services business.
With so much industry attention given to defined contribution plans, the topic of defined benefit often gets thought of like that old, stodgy uncle who smells kind of funny and is generally avoided at family gatherings.
The truth is, there are a lot of exciting things happening in the world of DB. I’ve been in the retirement industry for more than 20 years, providing service to the largest retirement plan clients at the Principal Financial Group®. Currently, I manage our defined benefit operations area, and I’m excited to bring my uniquely DB perspective to this blog.
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