institutional investors turn to alternatives

Institutional investors are increasingly turning to alternative investments in a bid to diversify assets and mitigate continuing market volatility. But the majority still see emerging Asia as the region with the biggest potential for equity gains over the next 10 years.

institutional investors turn to alternatives


In its most recent poll of UK pension schemes Baring Asset Management found 77.4% had increased exposure to alternatives, while only 16% had increased fixed income holdings and 12.9% plumped up their weighting in equities.

Barings said alternatives included property, hedge funds and private equity, but did not break down any further which areas had seen the most new investment.

Within equities 54.2% said emerging Asia (defined as China, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, India and Indonesia) still had the biggest potential for gross equity gains in the next decade.

Somewhat surprisingly, the next most popular region for equity gains was Europe, with 20.8% expecting good performance there, while only 2.1% came down in favour of the UK market for the most impressive gains.

Almost two-thirds of respondents had recently changed the asset allocation in their fund, with half saying this was an attempt to reduce volatility in their portfolio and 42% saying they had put the changes in place to decrease the correlation of existing assets.

Andrew Benton, head of UK and international institutional sales at Barings, said: "This research shows that UK pension funds continue to be concerned with the need to manage volatility and diversify assets in order to protect against significant losses. We continue to see great demand for our suite of multi-asset products."

Thrust towards multi-asset

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said their fund invests in multi-asset strategies, which were defined as targeted return, diversified growth or dynamic asset allocation products.

Over half had recently changed investment managers for their pension fund, with half of those doing so because of underperforming investments, 41% feeling there was not enough exposure to a certain asset class and 37% citing too much exposure to a certain asset class.

The survey was conducted among 99 investment managers of UK private and public pension schemes between 16 April and 11 May. For some questions respondents could select multiple answers.



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