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Rehabilitating the role of active management for pension funds

Author

Listed:
  • Aglietta, Michel
  • Brière, Marie
  • Rigot, Sandra
  • Signori, Ombretta

Abstract

Pension fund returns can be decomposed into different sources, including market movements, asset allocation policy, and active portfolio management. We use a unique database covering the asset allocations of US defined-benefit pension funds for the period 1990–2008, and we test the role of each factor in explaining their returns. Our results shed new light on pension funds’ sources of performance. While the previous literature emphasized that policy allocation accounts for the bulk of returns, leaving little room for active management, we show that taking explicit account of market movement can change the results significantly. Although active management plays a minor role in global asset allocation, its role is predominant in explaining returns to individual asset classes, whether traditional or alternative. This paper rehabilitates the contribution of active management as a source of performance for pension funds, at least at the asset class level.

Suggested Citation

  • Aglietta, Michel & Brière, Marie & Rigot, Sandra & Signori, Ombretta, 2012. "Rehabilitating the role of active management for pension funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 2565-2574.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:36:y:2012:i:9:p:2565-2574
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2012.05.017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth R. French, 2008. "Presidential Address: The Cost of Active Investing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1537-1573, August.
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    3. Pennacchi, George & Rastad, Mahdi, 2011. "Portfolio allocation for public pension funds," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 221-245, April.
    4. Ralph S. J. Koijen & Theo E. Nijman & Bas J. M. Werker, 2010. "When Can Life Cycle Investors Benefit from Time-Varying Bond Risk Premia?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(2), pages 741-780, February.
    5. de Haan, Leo & Kakes, Jan, 2011. "Momentum or contrarian investment strategies: Evidence from Dutch institutional investors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2245-2251, September.
    6. Marie Brière & Ombretta Signori, 2009. "Do Inflation-Linked Bonds Still Diversify?," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 15(2), pages 279-297.
    7. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2005. "Bond Risk Premia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 138-160, March.
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    9. Hyde, Stuart J & Bredin, Don P & Nguyen, Nghia, 2007. "Correlation dynamics between Asia-Pacific, EU and US stock returns," MPRA Paper 9681, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Marie Briere & Ariane Szafarz, 2007. "Crisis-Robust Bond Portfolios," Working Papers CEB 07-030.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Dai, Qiang & Singleton, Kenneth J., 2002. "Expectation puzzles, time-varying risk premia, and affine models of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 415-441, March.
    12. Bauer, R.M.M.J. & Cremers, K.J.M. & Frehen, R.G.P., 2010. "Pension Fund Performance and Costs: Small is Beautiful," MPRA Paper 23556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Henke, Hans-Martin, 2016. "The effect of social screening on bond mutual fund performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 69-84.
    2. Akshentseva, Ksenya & Abramov, Alexander & Chernovà, Maria, 2015. "Problems of Formation and Evaluation of Strategies for Portfolio Investment of Pension Reserves, Accruals and Collective Investments in Russia," Published Papers mn24, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    3. Ebrahim, M. Shahid & Mathur, Ike & ap Gwilym, Rhys, 2014. "Integrating corporate ownership and pension fund structures: A general equilibrium approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 553-569.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13624 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gökçen, Umut & Yalçın, Atakan, 2015. "The case against active pension funds: Evidence from the Turkish Private Pension System," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 46-67.
    6. Boubaker, Sabri & Gounopoulos, Dimitrios & Nguyen, Duc Khuong & Paltalidis, Nikos, 2017. "Assessing the effects of unconventional monetary policy and low interest rates on pension fund risk incentives," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 35-52.
    7. Jackowicz, Krzysztof & Kowalewski, Oskar, 2012. "Crisis, internal governance mechanisms and pension fund performance: Evidence from Poland," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 493-515.
    8. Boubaker, Sabri & Gounopoulos, Dimitrios & Nguyen, Duc Khuong & Paltalidis, Nikos, 2015. "Assessing the effects of unconventional monetary policy on pension funds risk incentives," MPRA Paper 73398, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Aug 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pension funds; Active management; Investment policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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