Recent news from around the world indicates that growth is slowing in nearly every region. Japan and China are pumping liquidity into their systems to encourage more growth. Europe, an unmitigated disaster, will need to continue to provide stimulus, and not austerity, in order to get their citizens working and consuming. The US continues to plod along, but given our trading partners’ struggles, it would be naive of us to think that our ability to export goods won’t be negatively impacted.
With that said, US interest rates remain significantly above those of our partners in Europe and elsewhere, particularly in the 5- and 10-year space. The US rates provide real value relative to these other countries, and so it is likely that the value will be captured as investors seek those higher yields.
In the US pension arena, most plans continue to be dramatically underweight fixed income, as they fear higher rates and yields that are well below the ROA. Stop! The ROA isn’t the objective, and rates aren’t necessarily going higher. The only asset that moves in lock step with a pension plan’s liabilities is fixed income. We have a major funding issue in the US that will be exacerbated should rates continue to fall.
A new direction is needed in the day-to-day management of DB plans. Call us if you want to receive our insights.