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QFINANCE Blog Category: Pensions

  1. Finance Blogger: QFINANCE Editor

    QFINANCE Top 5 Stories of the Week

    The first of QFINANCE's top 5 financial news stories of the week with relevent QFINANCE articles and definitions to fill you in on background details. Stories this week include gold sales ending in Europe, a possible global 'currency war', according to Brazil's finance minister, and speculation over Ireland's estimated $50 billion bailout.

  2. Finance Blogger: All About Alpha

    Guest blog: Study reveals Achilles heel of mega private equity funds

    It looks like small pension funds are the only Davids than can run circles around their larger Goliath competitors. A recent study of private equity funds found that large funds earn lower returns.

  3. Finance Blogger: Ian Fraser

    Having recognized role in crisis, fund managers put themselves on the couch

    The villains of the financial crisis, whose aftershocks are now forcing austerity on millions of Europeans, are many and varied. Groups singled out for blame include bankers, investment bankers, rating agencies, politicians, central bankers, “no touch” regulators, and credit-hungry consumers and corporations. But there is one group whose role has not yet been fully recognized or explored: the fund managers...

  4. Finance Blogger: Anthony Harrington

    IAS 19 redraft—Tolling the bell on final salary pensions?

    One of the truly weird things about the accounting standard setting process is that with nothing but the deepest respect for God, truth, and the Anglo-Saxon way, successive standards bodies have managed to drive a stake through the heart of UK final salary pension schemes—and, by extension, they’ve killed them off for every other country around the world as well. What the hell was wrong with final salary schemes? They were great!...

  5. Finance Blogger: Ian Fraser

    BP disaster shows that environmental and social risks are also financial risks

    British pension funds are learning some important lessons from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Until this crisis, pension funds regarded London-based oil giant BP as a “safe” bet for the long term. After all the oil company’s shares have tended to rise in value year-on-year, as well as providing a regular and robust dividend stream. They have formed a major component of most UK pension fund’s portfolios. But the Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster...

  6. Finance Blogger: Anthony Harrington

    The challenge of longevity

    Big business and governments are already grappling with the uncomfortable side effects of increasing longevity. According to actuaries, the present generation has gained the equivalent of 12 minutes an hour or a 20% increase in average lifespan by comparison with the previous generation. The impact of this is felt first and foremost in the pensions arena, with businesses having to run harder just to stand still as far as their pension…

  7. Finance Blogger: Ian Fraser

    Pension funds search for climate change risks and opportunities

    Pension funds are increasingly being asked by politicians, non-governmental organizations, campaigners, and pressure groups to mobilize their financial clout more actively and to take their responsibilities as corporate owners more seriously. The chances are it could change from being “asked” to being “required.” At the vanguard of the movement is UK Treasury minister Lord Myners who recently berated pension funds for…

  8. Finance Blogger: Anthony Harrington

    The alternative investment sector: Still nervous over regulation

    The so-called alternative investment fund industry, or AIF, is a broad church, encompassing such diverse activities as private equity investment, commercial property funds, and hedge funds. A few moments of thought should be enough to make clear the huge differences between these disparate investment activities. Buying a stake in a company or helping to fund an acquisition requires rather different skills and experience to those required to…

  9. Finance Blogger: Anthony Harrington

    Offshore havens, part 1: Riding out the frenzy

    Two completely different motives, one paranoid and one somewhat justified, seem to have been at work in the outpouring of outrage against offshore tax havens at the height of the 2008/2009 crash. The paranoid line, voiced by a number of European and US politicians, sought to put offshore-based hedge funds, and the supposedly lax offshore regimes that allowed them to operate, at the heart of the disaster. There was an assumption that…

  10. Finance Blogger: Anthony Harrington

    Hedge funds back in favour

    Hedge funds had a torrid time through the great crash of 2008/09. Even funds that considerably outperformed the mainstream equity markets (which lost 40% or so of their value) were not immune from investor panic and saw massive outflows as investors became wildly risk-averse, preferring near zero interest on Treasury bonds to any kind of risk-based strategy. Hedge funds that got caught in the sub-prime fiasco, or that had invested heavily in credit default swaps, got caught…

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