World’s largest pension funds see “super growth” in 2017

Graph_up1Assets under management (AuM) at the world’s largest pension funds have soared back into “super growth”, according to research.

AuM rose by 6.1% in 2016, or a total of $15.7 trillion (€13.2 trillion), according to the ‘Global 300’ list by Willis Towers Watson. 

The return to growth follows a 3.4% decline in 2015, whilst cumulative growth in assets since 2011 now stands at 23.4%.

The top 20 funds by asset size in the research saw a higher increase than the overall ranking, growing assets by 7.1% over the period.

The world’s top 300 pension funds together now represent 43.2% of global pension assets, rising from 42.5% in 2015.

Roger Urwin, global head of investment content at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The search for attractively priced assets at acceptable risk continues to be a driving force in shaping the fortunes of pension funds and their ability to meet respective missions and objectives.”

He added: “This is increasingly hard and reduces the shine from a year in which the largest asset owners have been able to achieve superior growth in this year’s figures. Central to this result has been the ability of leading asset owners to adapt to the ever-changing investment environment through improvements in governance and the ability to learn from their peers.” 

According to the research, North American funds showed the most noticeable annualised growth rate over the last five years, growing by 6.7% during the period.

Funds from Europe and Asia-Pacific regions showed annualised growth rates of 3.1 % and 2.8%, respectively.

The US continues to hold its position as the country with the largest share of pension assets across the top 300 funds, representing 38.6% spread across 134 funds. 

Meanwhile, Canada has overtaken the UK as the fifth largest country by share of pension fund assets, accounting for 5.4% (5.3% in 2015). The UK now accounts for 4.8%, falling from 5.4% of total assets in 2015.

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