Key Findings of KPMG LDI Survey:
According to the latest research issued by KPMG Investment Advisory, UK Liability Driven Investment (“LDI”) assets under management have increased 28 percent from £243bn to £312bn in the 12 months to December 2011. However, despite this growth, the aggregate new asset inflow into LDI investments from UK pension funds was close to nil over 2011.
Simeon Willis, Principal Consultant at KPMG in the UK, commented: “Whilst assets under management increased by almost 30 percent during 2011, this was primarily driven by falling gilt yields, rather than new money. Long maturity gilt investments delivered returns of 26 percent over 2011.”
According to KPMG, the lack of new money going into LDI is a result of the all time low yields in the gilt market. Simeon Willis explains: “Although the UK pension funds’ desire to reduce risk through hedging liabilities appears to remain a high priority, the significant fall in gilt yields amidst the European Sovereign Debt Crisis and the UK’s perceived safe haven status, has meant that pension funds were unwilling to hedge at such unattractive levels.”
However, in KPMG’s view, many pension funds will need to incorporate some level of LDI into their investment strategy at some point in the future and failing to do so now could be a risky strategy, the firm warns. “Many pension funds are still taking a ‘wait and see’ type of approach but this ‘all or nothing bet’ is a risk given the potential for yields to become even less attractive from here,” says Simeon Willis.
The 2012 KPMG LDI Survey has highlighted that over a quarter of the c.600 mandates in the survey have market level triggers in place, hoping to benefit from improvements in yields before entering the market. “The continued decline in yields over 2011 surprised a lot of investors who thought that they simply could not get much lower,” says Simeon Willis. “Consequently, most trigger based strategies failed to increase the overall level of hedging, thereby failing to protect from the increase in liabilities that correspond to falling yields.”
KPMG draws similarities between this and prevalent pension risk management approaches that are focused on reducing allocations to growth assets in response to improvements in market levels. “Whilst these approaches are intuitively appealing - seen to be ‘banking winnings’ - they often neglect to satisfactorily address immediate risk exposures,” Simeon Willis comments.
The survey also highlighted that within segregated and bespoke strategies, two managers accounted for more than 70 percent of the total assets under management. Indeed, KPMG’s research showed that across the industry the three largest managers accounted for 85 percent of the assets under management.
Additionally, the survey sought views from investment managers on the direction of the gilt market. Compared with 2011, optimism on yields rising in the next three years appears to be more muted with half of the managers surveyed expecting real yields to flat or fall further.
Simeon Willis concluded: “The volatility in 2011 demonstrated the tangible benefits of hedging interest rate and inflation risk for UK pension schemes. Given the uncertainty around the level and future direction of yields, we are seeing a continuing trend for UK pension schemes to revisit their trigger strategies as they appear unlikely to be hit in the medium term.”
“We are seeing clients considering more inventive strategies to increase hedging so as to capture improvements from rising yields whilst also increasing the downside protection from day one.”
For further information please contact:
Margot Cowhig, KPMG Corporate Communications
Tel: 0207 694 4246 Mobile: 07920 274856: firstname.lastname@example.org
KPMG Press Office: 0207 694 8773
Notes to editors.
About KPMG Investment Advisory
KPMG Investment Advisory is a leading specialist advising pension schemes and other institutional investors in relation to asset and liability risk management.
KPMG has been at the forefront in developing clients’ understanding of the benefits that an LDI approach can bring, and helping clients to understand and implement the approach that is most suitable for them. The team is deeply experienced in integrating LDI and other investment solutions and continue to develop the most appropriate arrangements for our clients’ needs.
About KPMG LLP
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 11,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.7 billion in the year ended September 2011. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.