Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pension Funds, Endowments, and Us

I've been thinking whether anything needs to be done with Moominmama's portfolio and benchmarked the broad asset allocation against a bunch of pension and endowment funds:

UniSuper Balanced and PSS(AP) are the default choices for two Australian superannuation funds. The Future Fund is an Australian Sovereign Wealth Fund. CALPERS is of course the California Public Retirement system and then there is the average US university endowment and three Ivy League endowments. Excepting the Ivy's the average for the two US funds is very close to that for the three Australian funds: 42% equity, 23% bonds and cash, and 35% alternatives (hedge funds, real estate, private equity etc.). Retrospectively the Ivy's had too much in alternatives and too little in cash to meet their needs. Nobody though has as much as Moominmama has in bonds and cash. As I've often said, it's hard to imagine bonds performing as well in the future as they have in the past when they were boosted by capital gains due to declining interest rates since the early 1980s. She receives government pensions and even if she didn't she has many years worth of expenses in cash alone let alone bonds. Even if her medical costs rise I still think there is plenty of cash. Long term I think it'd make sense to head to say 30% in bonds and cash. Some time soon I think it would make sense to sell some shares in bond funds and increase other investments.

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