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Year after year, corporate DB plan sponsor surveys show controlling funded status volatility (surplus risk) as the top priority for their organizations. When liabilities grow faster than plan assets, additional cash contributions are required. At the same time, pension assets and liabilities have become prominent parts of company financial statements that investors use to evaluate company health.
Global market volatility and low interest rates have greatly impacted the funded status of corporate defined benefit plans over the past decade. Particularly in the last year, wide swings in equity markets have become less predictable, making funded status volatility a greater cause for concern.
The long-term investment timeframe that pension schemes take poses enormous challenges but can also lead to innovative investment approaches to difficult issues. In this guest Q&A, Owen Thorne, portfolio manager, monitoring & responsible investment at the Merseyside Pension Fund (MPF) explains how the Fund approached the climate change challenge.