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Pension funds' asset allocation and participant age: a test of the life-cycle model

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  • Jacob A. Bikker
  • Dirk W.G.A. Broeders
  • David A. Hollanders
  • Eduard H.M. Ponds

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of participants' age distribution on the asset allocation of Dutch pension funds, using a unique data set of pension fund investment plans for 2007. Theory predicts a negative effect of age on (strategic) equity exposures. We observe that pension funds do indeed take the average age of their participants into account. However, the average age of active participants has been incorporated much more strongly in investment behaviour than the average ages of retired or dormant participants. This suggests that both employers and employees, who dominate pension fund boards, tend to show more interest in active participants. A one-year higher average age in active participants leads to a significant and robust reduction in the strategic equity exposure by around 0.5 percentage point. Larger pension funds show a stronger age-equity exposure effect than smaller pension funds. This age-dependent asset allocation of pension funds aligns with the original life-cycle model by which young workers should invest more in equity than older workers because of their larger human capital. Other factors, viz. fund size, funding ratio, and average pension wealth of participants, influence equity exposure positively and significantly, in line with theory. Pension plan type and pension fund type have no significant impact.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 223.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:223

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Keywords: Pension funds; strategic equity allocation; lifecycle saving and investing.;

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References

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  1. Ponds, Eduard H. M. & Riel, Bart Van, 2009. "Sharing risk: the Netherlands' new approach to pensions," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 91-105, January.
  2. Jacob A. Bikker & Dirk W.G.A. Broeders & Jan de Dreu, 2007. "Stock market performance and pension fund investment policy: rebalancing, free float, or market timing?," DNB Working Papers 154, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  3. Deborah J. Lucas & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2009. "How Should Public Pension Plans Invest?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 527-32, May.
  4. Bovenberg, A.L. & Koijen, R.S.J. & Nijman, T.E. & Teulings, C.N., 2007. "Saving and investing over the life cycle and the role of collective pension funds," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-301942, Tilburg University.
  5. Gollier, Christian, 2007. "Intergenerational Risk-Sharing and Risk-Taking of a Pension Fund," IDEI Working Papers 42, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  6. Ponds, E.H.M., 2008. "Naar meer Jong en Oud in Collectieve Pensioenen," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-378198, Tilburg University.
  7. Bikker, Jacob A. & De Dreu, Jan, 2009. "Operating costs of pension funds: the impact of scale, governance, and plan design," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 63-89, January.
  8. Cui, Jiajia & Jong, Frank De & Ponds, Eduard, 2011. "Intergenerational risk sharing within funded pension schemes," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 1-29, January.
  9. Teulings, Coen & de Vries, Casper G., 2003. "Generational Accounting, Solidarity and Pension Losses," IZA Discussion Papers 961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Willem Heeringa, 2008. "Optimal life cycle investment with pay-as-you-go pension schemes: a portfolio approach," DNB Working Papers 168, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  11. Jacob A. Bikker & Peter J.G. Vlaar, 2006. "Conditional Indexation in Defined Benefit Pension Plans," DNB Working Papers 086, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  12. Gerber, David S. & Weber, René, 2007. "Demography and investment behavior of pension funds: evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 313-337, November.
  13. Campbell, John Y. & Viceira, Luis M., 2002. "Strategic Asset Allocation: Portfolio Choice for Long-Term Investors," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296942, October.
  14. Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "Consumption and Portfolio Choice over the Life Cycle," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 491-533.
  15. Jan de Dreu & J.A. Bikker, 2009. "Pension fund sophistication and investment policy," Working Papers 09-13, Utrecht School of Economics.
  16. Ponds, E.H.M. & Riel, B. van, 2009. "Sharing risk: The Netherlands' new approach to pensions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3129589, Tilburg University.
  17. Alestalo, Noora & Puttonen, Vesa, 2006. "Asset allocation in Finnish pension funds," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 27-44, March.
  18. Deborah Lucas, 2007. "Valuing & Hedging: Defined Benefit Pension Obligations - The Role of Stocks Revisited," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 169, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Xiaohong Huang & Ronald Mahieu, 2012. "Performance Persistence of Dutch Pension Funds," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 17-34, March.
  2. J.A. Bikker & T. Knaap & W.E. Romp, 2011. "Real Pension Rights as a Control Mechanism for Pension Fund Solvency," Working Papers 11-15, Utrecht School of Economics.
  3. Huang, X. & Mahieu, R.J., 2012. "Performance persistence of Dutch pension plans," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5556493, Tilburg University.
  4. Dirk Broeders & Paul Hilbers & David Rijsbergen, 2013. "What drives pension indexation in turbulent times? An empirical examination of Dutch pension funds," DNB Working Papers 368, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  5. Mohan, Nancy & Zhang, Ting, 2014. "An analysis of risk-taking behavior for public defined benefit pension plans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 403-419.
  6. Brière, Marie & Boon, Ling-Ni & Rigot, Sandra, 2014. "Does Regulation Matter? Riskiness and Procyclicality of Pension Asset Allocation," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/13624, Paris Dauphine University.

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