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Are ESG regulatory and policy measures driving asset allocation? (2024)

This report shows why the recent ESG-related regulatory and policy measures are likely to prove quite consequential in improving the price discovery of ESG risks and opportunities.
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The next stage of ESG evolution in the pension landscape (2023)
ESG investing has had a rough ride over the past 2 years.

This report assesses how it is likely to fare over the next three years in the light of various policy and regulatory measures.
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The future of ESG after the bear market - Passive Investing 2023 (2023)
This global survey shows how institutional investors see the recent poor performance of ESG funds and their prospects after the bear market.
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Pension funds: reorienting asset allocation in an inflation-fuelled world (2022)
The recent surge in inflation is forcing pension plans to future-proof their portfolios. This is easier said than done whilst the unknowns are overwhelmed by the unknowables. In the dark, all swans look black.

This report shows why asset allocation has become a high-wire act that blends caution with opportunism.
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Impact Investing 2.0: Advancing into public markets (2022)
Yesterday's heresy could be tomorrow's orthodoxy. Is impact investing braced for such change?

That's the question pursued by this survey which looks at how pension plans are leading the advance of impact investing in public markets.
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Net zero: Going beyond the hype (2022)
This survey of institutional investors shows why the net zero goal faces an Everest of a task.
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DB plans in their End Game in the post-pandemic era (2021)
This report shows why managing assets in DB plans is a whole new ball game of extreme pragmatism, in the face of ageing demographics, funding deficits, negative cash flows and rising inflation.
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Can capital markets save the planet? (2021)
There is currently no clear line of sight between climate investing and its impacts.
Green portfolios have not yet equated to a green planet.

But three recent catalysts are set to change that.
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Passive investing 2021: Rise of the social pillar of ESG (2021)
This report shows how the 'S' pillar of ESG has raced up pension investors' agenda due to the current pandemic.
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Creating resilient pension portfolios post Covid-19 (2020)
While highlighting the impact of Covid-19 on asset allocation, this survey report reveals that, by focusing on the macro economy, policy makers are willing to ignore the real problems that are metastasizing in the pension world owing to the unprecedented nature of their response.

It also shows that, as central banks will lose their potency in artificially setting asset prices, pension investing will focus on firms that can weather the current storm and emerge stronger on the other side.
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Passive Investing 2020: Addressing climate change in investment portfolios (2020)
This global survey looks at how institutional investors are planning to ramp up their allocations to climate change passive funds in the post-Covid 19 world.
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Sustainable Investing: fast-forwarding its evolution (2020)
Interest in sustainable investing is rocketing in every investment jurisdiction.
This report narrates the experience of early adopters and the lessons that hedge fund managers and other investors can learn from them.
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Quantitative easing: the end of the road for pension investors? (2019)
Why pension investors are losing faith in quantitative easing.

This is the first report of its kind to provide a detailed picture of how QE has damaged the financial viability of pension plans.
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Future 2020 - Future-Proofing Your Asset Allocation in the Age of Mega Trends (2019)
Two secular forces are reshaping the future of investing: artificial intelligence and climate change.

This report highlights how they are impacting asset allocation and what actions are being taken by investors to future proof their portfolios.
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Passive Investing 2019 - The rise of stewardship (2019)
This global survey of pension plans reports how effective their index managers have been in acting as stewards of their passive assets.
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Rocky Road For The European Union - Pension Plan's Response (2018)
This annual survey of pension plans shows that, despite the recent economic recovery in Europe, underlying fragility persists while reforms have been sidelined by the migration crisis and Brexit negotiations.

As a result, pension plans are performing a delicate balancing act: capturing any upside if the bull run continues, while adjusting their asset allocation to minimise the downsides.
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Passive Investing: Reshaping the global investment landscape (2018)
The rise of passives has been a foundational change in investing. Yet they will not eclipse actives. Like yin and yang, each needs the other to survive and thrive.
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Alternative Investments 3.0: Digitize or jeopardize (2018)
Based on a global survey, this reform shows how digitisation will be transforming the alternative investment industry.
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Back to long-term investing in the age of geopolitical risk (2017)
The rise of populism casts a political shadow over the global economy at a time when central banks are starting to unwind their highly accommodative monetary policies.

Their combined effects are likely to cause major shifts in the global economy.

This report presents the views of pension plans on these shifts and their impact on asset allocation.
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Active Investing: Shaping its future in a disruptive environment (2017)
This paper highlights how active managers are responding to the rise of passives and how the two styles are becoming more complementary in an investment landscape of growing diversity.
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Digitisation of asset and wealth management:promise and pitfalls - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (2017)
Lately, much has been written about the revolutionary potential of digital technology.

In asset and wealth management. But there is little information available on the actual practices on the ground.

The rhetoric of technology has run ahead of reality. It's time for a stock take. That's what this report does.
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Digitisation of asset and wealth management:
promise and pitfalls (2017)

Lately, much has been written about the revolutionary potential of digital technology.

In asset and wealth management. But there is little information available on the actual practices on the ground.

The rhetoric of technology has run ahead of reality. It's time for a stock take. That's what this report does.
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Expecting the unexpected: How pension plans are adapting to a post-Brexit world (2016)
The Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump mark the rise of nationalism and risk intensifying the politics of fragmentation in the European Union.

This new report shows how investors are adapting to the post Brexit world. Its main focus is on political risks, asset allocation and product innovation.
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How pension plans are responding to financial repression (2015)
Governments in developed economies are relying on zero-bound rates to manage their crippling debt and rising inflation to vaporize it.

This report turns the spotlight on how this ultra loose monetary policy is hurting pension plans and how they are responding to it.
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Pragmatism Presides, Equities and Opportunism Rise (2015)
Is the cult of equities dying?

So far, the debate has been confined to the newsrooms and blogosphere. This is the first report to present the views of investors in 29 fund jurisdictions around the world.
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New Dynamics In The UK Pension Market (2015)
Retirement planning in the UK is on the cusp of a major transformation as a result of the sweeping changes that are effective from April 2015.

This report describes these changes and their consequences for the retirement products market.
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Why the internet titans will not conquer asset management (2015)
This report shows how digitisation will transform global asset management
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The Alpha behind Alpha (2014)
The lethal combination of funding deficits and ageing demographics has led a growing number of pension plans across Europe to revamp their asset choices, governance practices and strategy execution.

This survey highlights the details of these changes in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008, with a special focus on the emerging asset allocation models in the institutional landscape.
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Not All Emerging Markets Are Created Equal (2014)
Are markets yesterday's story or are they merely rebooting their growth engines before the next leap?

This report shows how the emerging market story is being rewritten as investors become more discerning. It also shows why the gravitational pull in key asset classes will guide investors West.
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Not All Emerging Markets Are Created Equal CHINESE EDITION (2014)

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Upping The Innovation Game In A Winner Takes All World (2013)
Currently, there are some 70,000 share classes in the fund universe.
Yet only 185 of them (0.003) attract 100% of the new inflows.

This report shows how fund managers are improving their innovation processes to survive in today's winner-takes-all world.
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Investing In A Debt Fuelled World (2013)
Venturing beyond the over-blown rhetoric of risk-on/risk-off cycles, this report shows how the debt crisis is reshaping today's investing.

Governments are looking to reduce their retirement benefits.
Employers are downsizing their pension promises.
Individuals are being obliged to bear the brunt of all retirement risks.

What do these shifts mean for asset management?
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Fixing Cultures in Financial Services (2013)
This report highlights the true nature of wrong doing in the finance sector and suggests practical ways of fixing the cultures that has caused so much havoc.
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Innovation in the Age of Volatility (2012)
The Market Volatility: Friend or Foe? report highlighted how investors' approaches to risk are changing and how asset managers can convert market volatility into an investment opportunity for their clients.

This follow-up report takes a deeper look into the importance of innovation, which was not a significant area of focus in the global edition of Market Volatility: Friend or Foe?, and goes much more in-depth into the U.S. market. In the wake of the 2008 credit crisis, prolonged volatility has enjoined investors and their managers alike to explore new ways of investing and managing the asset business to cope with the new reality.
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Market Volatility: friend or foe? (2012)
Fear, more than fundamentals, will drive the financial markets in this decade until progress is evident on the debt crisis on both sides of the Atlantic. Price anomalies will be rife.

This report identifies how asset managers can convert market volatility into an investment opportunity for their end-clients. Despite new risks, investors haven't given up on chasing a bargain when they see one.
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Investment innovations (2011)
Since 1980s, numerous investment innovations have come in dribs and drabs. But their substantive adoption occurred in the last decade when the charm of uncorrelated absolute returns captured the imagination of investors who had hitherto relied on a raging bull market to do the heavy lifting for them.

Based on two global surveys of pension plans and asset managers, this report identifies what worked, what didn't, and why. It also suggests ways of improving the outcomes in future.
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Exploiting uncertainty in investment markets (2010)
A thick fog of uncertainty has descended over the investment landscape. This report highlights the business model that is best placed to exploit uncertainty.
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Future of investment (2009)
Two of the four worst bear markets of the last 100 years ravaged the global asset management industry over a span of seven years in this decade.

Indiscriminately, like a tsunami, the latest has wiped out some US$15 trillion in asset values, causing havoc in every asset class, every market, every geography, and every client segment: 15 years of capital gains were wiped out in 15 months.

With the worst of this collateral damage now seemingly over, it is time for a stock-take and scenario work.

This study explores how the market dynamics of the fund business will change and how its business models will reshape.
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DB and DC plans (2008)
Pension funds have been hit by two severe bouts of volatility in a short span of eight years on top of regulatory and accounting changes that have created unprecedented funding challenges for them in this decade. This report highlights the nature and scale of these challenges and the responses required to address them.
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Global Fund Distribution : Bridging new frontiers (2008)
The evolution of the global market for UCITS funds.
As their domestic markets have been maturing, fund managers are increasingly venturing abroad. This report highlights how they are globalising their business cost effectively without creating physical presence on the ground in multiple jurisdictions.
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Globalisation of funds: Challenges and opportunities (2007)
This report discusses whether globalisation has enhanced fund managers' capabilities to do cross-border business, and any effects on bottom-line benefits. It also examines the ways in which businesses are run on the ground.

Fund managers have rapidly ventured abroad in this decade in search of new clients and higher returns. Has the pace of this expansion accelerated as pension restrictions are lifted in emerging economies and pension clients increasingly want all-inclusive global mandates? Are retail clients more interested in funds with universal themes, and is new wealth generation creating the opportunity for more retail clients around the world to invest?

The report concludes with recommendations on how senior managers can minimise the inherent tensions in their transnational aspirations by implementing a strategic performance process that promotes integration, innovation and accountability that are central to a vibrant global funds business.
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Convergence and Divergence: New forces shaping the investment universe (2007)
Worldwide, 40 percent of fund managers have diversified into long only funds and 30 percent into alternatives in the last three years, causing convergence in investment strategies used in different sectors in their industry and in cash terms alternatives have attracted larger sums.

This report shows that as hedge fund managers and private equity firms have fuelled competition by promising absolute returns that are not correlated to conditions in the financial markets, long only managers have responded by offering products that mimic the returns offered by their new competitors.

"As a result, their respective returns are converging, as are their back office infrastructures. The ensuing competition is driving out mediocrity, squeezing the margins and institutionalising the alternatives" said Amin Rajan, the study's principal author and chief executive of CREATE-Research.

However, such convergence is far from uniform, according to two groups who participated in the study's three global surveys: 310 fund managers and pension funds with US$28 trillion of funds under management; and 48 independent administrators with US$38 trillion of funds under administration.

"Within each sector, managers have fallen into one of three groups which can be characterised as: purists, who have stuck to their core capability; pragmatists, who have diversified; and procrastinators, who have considered change without actions," said Anthony Cowell, the report's co-author and partner at KPMG in the Cayman Islands.

While pragmatists are doing new things by changing the boundaries of their sector, the purists appear to doing old things better. Thus, convergence and divergence are reshaping today's investment universe, helping to generate all-round benefits.
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Towards enhanced business governance: Causes and consequences in global investment (2006)
This report represents the condensed views of senior executives in 192 investment firms based in 25 countries, with US$21 trillion of assets.

Their views focus on why business governance has become increasingly important for their region and for their business. Although improved business governance has produced benefits for fund managers, the proliferation of regulation across the globe risks acting against client interests. The study shows that over two in every five fund managers have adopted a variety of business principles that promote better conduct of business. These have been embedded into structures, behaviours and cultures that regulate all activities in the front, middle and back offices.

We hope you will find the report useful in order to benchmark your current compliance strategy against the research results. It also includes a reality checklist to help draw out the core components of an 'ideal' governance model.
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Tomorrow (2006)
Unless there is further innovation, clients will be unwilling to buy new products from their fund managers.

This report represents the views of three hundred fund managers and pension funds in 37 countries accounting for US$30 trillion of assets. The study found that clients want absolute returns and liability matching products backed by a value-for-money fee structure that separates returns attributed to managers' skills from those attributed to market changes.

Asset managers are producing such products. Yet clients in institutional and retail markets are not rushing out to buy them, nor are they likely to in large numbers. This is because clients require improvements that make these products less risky, less volatile, more transparent, more liquid, more simple and more customised.

The report argues that meeting the client needs over the rest of this decade will drive asset managers into significant alliances involving activities in front, middle and back offices. This fragmentation will occur alongside further consolidation which will focus on acquiring skills or extending geographical reach in search of new assets.

For individual asset managers, three business basics will drive success: a good track record, alignment with client interests, and organisational stability that raises the probability of replicating past successes.
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Comply & Prosper: Managing people risk arising from regulation (2006)
Mounting regulation is a way of life. Since 1998, around 30 new laws have been passed on business conduct, governance and employment. They directly affect fast growing financial & professional services that underpin London's status as Europe's premier business centre.

For individual businesses, regulation has proved a double-edge sword: blind adherence can stifle innovation; loose compliance can mean prosecution.

The key is to avoid both by understanding the nature of risks and implementing processes that encourage enterprise, on the one hand, and minimise bureaucracy on the other.

The issue is two fold: how to have intelligent laws and how to apply them cost effectively such that the UK can be classed as 'the best regulated country' in the world of finance and professions. This theme will be addressed by prominent business leaders and HR professionals.

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Hedge Funds: A catalyst reshaping global investment (2005)
Since the onset of the bear market, the growth of hedge funds has been nothing short of spectacular. They have become a formidable force; but their lackluster performance since the latter half of 2004 has sparked a debate about their long term future. This report presents the analysis and conclusions emerging from the most comprehensive and broadly based research study ever carried out on the future of hedge funds.
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Raising the Performance Bar: challenges facing global investment management in the 2000s (2004)
Our 2003 research showed that only a minority of investment managers around the world had expected the recent bear market to prevail beyond 2002. As a result, substantive corrective actions to arrest a headlong decline in profitability were deemed unnecessary by many. Further market routs in February 2003, however, unleased a wave of actions: some aimed to cut costs immediately, some to boost the top line in the medium term.

Accordingly, this report aims to identify:
The nature and scale of these changes
The extent to which they are reshaping the contours of the industry
Their impact so far on profitability
Specific areas where progress is vital if a vibrant industry is to
emerge from the traumas of the last four years
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Revolutionary Shifts, Evolutionary Responses: Global Investment Management in the 2000s (2003)
The continuing bear market of 2003 exposed the fault lines and shattered customer confidence, yet many investment managers have done little beyond cost cutting and product diversification, according to a global study by the think tank CREATE and KPMG, the professional services firm.

Investment performance, fee levels, operational transparency and service quality are coming under scrutiny like never before. The shift from balanced to specialist mandates is forcing firms to focus their capabilities in fewer products and activities. The long prevailing tension between manufacturing and distribution has become more acute. Economies of scale have been slow to kick in. These are some of the findings from a study of 185 investment managers in 20 countries, who collectively manage 19.8 trillion Euros.

The study argues that:
investment managers need to use those lean production tools that
have revolutionised other industries which suffered over-capacity
and falling profits
they have the potential to change the culture of excessive
individualism and over-inflated compensation still associated
with the craft of investment.
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