Dealing with Pension Plan Deficits

In January, it emerged that Shell UK had become the latest—and probably the last—company in the UK’s FTSE 100 Index to announce it was closing its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to new members. The news points up a dilemma facing the trustees of many large corporate pension providers.

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Foundation Strategies for an Era of Sub-Par Investment Returns

In my last post I argued that today’s unusually low prospective returns for bonds and near-normal prospective returns for equities will make it very difficult for foundations and endowments to achieve their long-term goals. Here’s our take on the alternative strategies that foundations and endowments should consider.

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When Should You Take Your Social Security Benefits?

Determining when to start receiving Social Security benefits can present a dilemma: Should you wait and receive higher annual benefits, or would you be better off receiving smaller payouts over a longer period?

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Inflation Plus 5%: Still a Reasonable Goal?

Many US endowments and foundations plan to give 5% of assets annually, while seeking to preserve the inflation-adjusted value of their assets. That’s become a very challenging goal.

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How to Diversify When Markets Are Highly Correlated

With economic and political developments driving big gyrations in equity markets, at first blush it seems that all stocks are moving together and diversification benefits have diminished. But as my colleague Andrew Chin explained in a recent article, spreading exposures across the spectrum of equity risk and return factors is now more important than ever. 

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Looking for a Haven from Stormy Markets?

It’s easy to understand why investors are seeking a safe haven now. The 2008 financial crisis is still a fresh memory, and the global economic recovery appears to be losing steam. Meanwhile, politicians in both Europe and the US cannot decide how to address their pressing problems. Every bad piece of news seems to push [...]

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