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Pension Fund Investment and Regulation - a Macro Study

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  • Yu-Wei Hu

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Abstract

Pension fund assets have been accumulated rapidly during the past decades, and it is evident that this trend will continue. An immediate problem arising from the rapid accumulation of such a large volume of assets across countries is how to invest them. Pension funds differ from other institutional investors, e.g. mutual funds, in that their investment horizons are relatively long, typically 30-40 years. In addition, they are pooled assets to support people’s retirement lives. The authorities have a policy concern about their investment performance, because otherwise, the shortfalls will have to be met by the nation state (Clark and Hu 2005a). In this paper, we seek to address this issue from the macro perspective. By using a unique dataset covering 39 countries (17 EMEs and 22 OECD) and based on the classic mean-variance optimisation approach, first we find a negative impact of international portfolio investment restrictions on pension fund returns and risk, and this issue is particularly serious for EMEs. Following a shift from the QAR to the PPR, the average risk is expected to fall by 27% for EMEs pension funds, while the figure is 10% for OECD pension funds. Second, there is evidence that if higher portfolio returns are wanted, higher proportion should be invested in equities and foreign assets. Third, our results show that pension funds should value the diversification benefit arising from property investment (Booth 2002).

Suggested Citation

  • Yu-Wei Hu, 2006. "Pension Fund Investment and Regulation - a Macro Study," Economics and Finance Discussion Papers 06-11, Economics and Finance Section, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University.
  • Handle: RePEc:bru:bruedp:06-11
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