Maintain Your Asset / Liability Mismatch At Your Own Peril!!

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.

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When everyone expects one thing, you may want to prepare for a different outcome

On January 9th, and again on April 4th, we at KCS addressed the issue that US interest rates wouldn’t necessarily rise, and in fact, with everyone in the world seemingly believing that interest rates had only one way to move – UP – we thought that there was a good chance that rates might fall.  In fact, the interest rate on the 10 year US Treasury has fallen by more than 30 bps so far this year.  That is a fairly meaningful move.  With many plan sponsors and asset consultants trimming, eliminating, and restructuring their US fixed income exposure, a plan’s asset allocation is now more disconnected from the liabilities than before.  This disconnect exacerbates the volatility in funded ratios and contribution costs. 

Don’t believe us, then how about the following.  Here is a brief research piece that I found on Cullen Roche’s website today.

“Jim Bianco, of Bianco Research, points out in a market comment Tuesday that a survey of 67 economists this month shows every single one of them expects the 10-year Treasury  yield to rise in the next six months.

The survey, which is done each month by Bloomberg, has been notably bearish for some time now, with nearly everyone expecting rising rates. In March, 97% expected rising rates. In February, 95% expected yields to climb. And in January, 97% held that expectation. Since the beginning of 2009, there have only been a handful of instances where less than 50% expected rates to rise.”

Read more at http://pragcap.com/the-metamorphosis-of-the-bond-bears#6KE3VCCCBLDYV554.99

The US Retirement industry cannot afford to get the direction of rates wrong.  A continuation in the decline of rates will only further inflate the underfunding of US pension liabilities, and continue to put pressure on both private and public DB plan sponsors to do something else, such as close or freeze the DB plan and move more participants into DC.  At KCS, we’ve spoken and written about alternative strategies that go along way to improving funded ratios and stabilize contribution costs.  We are waiting to hear form you.

The beneficiaries of our collective effort cannot afford to have us screw up any more. DC plans are not the answer, but are quickly becoming the only game in town.

 

“Jim Bianco, of Bianco Research, points out in a market comment Tuesday that a survey of 67 economists this month shows every single one of them expects the 10-year Treasury  yield to rise in the next six months.

The survey, which is done each month by Bloomberg, has been notably bearish for some time now, with nearly everyone expecting rising rates. In March, 97% expected rising rates. In February, 95% expected yields to climb. And in January, 97% held that expectation. Since the beginning of 2009, there have only been a handful of instances where less than 50% expected rates to rise.”

Read more at http://pragcap.com/the-metamorphosis-of-the-bond-bears#6KE3VCCCBLDYV554.99

“Jim Bianco, of Bianco Research, points out in a market comment Tuesday that a survey of 67 economists this month shows every single one of them expects the 10-year Treasury  yield to rise in the next six months.

The survey, which is done each month by Bloomberg, has been notably bearish for some time now, with nearly everyone expecting rising rates. In March, 97% expected rising rates. In February, 95% expected yields to climb. And in January, 97% held that expectation. Since the beginning of 2009, there have only been a handful of instances where less than 50% expected rates to rise.”

Read more at http://pragcap.com/the-metamorphosis-of-the-bond-bears#6KE3VCCCBLDYV554.99