Showing posts with label benchmark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label benchmark. Show all posts

Feb 22, 2011

Pension Fund Weigh House

Investment Benchmarking of Pension Funds has been made extremely difficult.

Just ask your Pension Fund's actuary whether your Pension Fund has achieved a 'market conform investment performance'... For sure you'll get a dazzling multiform and relative answer. It's all about 'market indexes' (stock and bond indexes), risk appetites, asset mixes, derivatives, uncertainty and lots of other interesting complex stuff that underpins the fact that the final answer to this simple question is nuanced, complex and relative.

A simple question
Ahead of all this growing complexity and 'levels of detail', a first key question has to be answered by every Pension Fund:

Was it worth setting up a complex multi fund investment plan instead of simply investing in 10-Years Government (Treasury) Bonds over an arbitrary period of (at least) the last 10 years?

Even this simple question, will probably not lead to a simply answer from your fund's investment manager or actuary.

Pension Fund Weigh House Help
This is where the help of the 'Pension Fund Weigh House' comes in...

Just look up the yearly return over the last ten years in your Pension Fund's annual report. Next, do the test at 'Pension Fund Weigh House'  (PFWH) and see for yourself whether your Pension Fund has  performed better than the simple benchmark: 10-Y Bonds.

Did your Pension Fund perform better than Bonds? (the compound mean over the last 10 years) Congratulations!
Was it worth the risk? Well..., just look at the Risk (Standard Deviation) or - even better - the Sharpe Ratio at different levels of possible 'Risk Free Rates' to find out. The Higher the Sharpe Ratio, the more it was worth to take the risk.

Market Value
To compare Bonds 'fair' with Market Value based Pension Fund performance, the yearly Bond interest rate is translated into a yearly Market Value performance. This is done by assuming that each year, all '10-Y Bonds' bought in January of a specific year are valued, and sold at the interest rate one year later.

Do it yourself
The standard example as presented on PFWH concerns the performance of the Dutch pension fund ABP, the third largest pension fund of the world. Answer the key question 'Was it worth?' for ABP for yourself.

ABP (Pfd-R) Performance 2001-2010

Go to PFWH and change the numbers and 'heads' in the application to fit the numbers of your own (pension) fund or change both columns (Bonds & PFD-R) to compare two pension funds .
Compare your pension fund to either  '10-Y Euro Government Bonds', '10-Y US Treasury Bonds' or the 'S&P 500 Index'.

From now on you may answer this extremely difficult question "How did my pension fund perform?" yourself in a  5 minute weigh house test.

Have (professional) fun!