ASSET-LIABILITY MANAGEMENT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A PENSION FOUNDATION : SIMULATION AND EVALUATION OF INVESTMENT- AND PORTFOLIO SELECTION STRATEGIES

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för matematik och matematisk statistik; Umeå universitet/Institutionen för matematik och matematisk statistik

Abstract: Asset Liability Management is a current topic where accountability of asset management is of high importance. This is a result of continuously increasing investments in the stock market globally. The globalisation exposes a big part of the different markets to the same types of risk. This makes it harder to secure capital and assets through diversified investments. Further it has led to a more complex and resource demanding investment basis. The uncertainty of the future brings the focus of fund management to optimising and minimising risks, rather than trying to predict individual movements of specific assets on the market. The goal of this project has been to find, test and evaluate different investment- and portfolio selection strategies with trajectories of some chosen assets, simulated from a Economic Scenario Generator (ESG). This ESG has gratefully been provided by Willis Towers Watson, which in their daily work deal with these areas. Further the trajectories has acted as possible outcomes of asset returns. Employed portfolios intended to replicate pension foundations in placement guidelines and characteristics, with different strategies has then followed the development of the assets and has been matched against the pension liabilities of an average sized Swedish pension foundation. The outcomes of the portfolios has thereafter been assessed and compared with each other. The target has been to localise an optimal risk level in respect to the portfolios' performance and to achieve as high pension funding ratio as possible. The strategies tested have been varied. Variants such as Buy-and-Hold is an example of a simpler investment strategy. There the assets within the portfolio has initially been allocated according to given weights, then the portfolio has ran static with the initial shares over the tested period of 10 years. Other more complex, aggressive and risk taking strategies have also been tested. Here, re-allocating every year is common and the weights within the portfolios depends on the properties of the different assets and the strategy employed. The key performance indicator of the tested portfolios has been the funding ratio of pension payments. The best portfolio in this regard was the one that employed Sharpe allocation for all assets. It had a funding ratio of 91.22%. The worst portfolio due to this measurement was the buy-and-hold strategy with equal weights of the assets. It only covered 79.48% of the pension payments. Important to mention is that the initial funding ratio of all tested portfolios was set to 80%. This means that the portfolio value in time step zero was set to 80% of the value of the pension liabilities. WTW does not blindly confirm the results and this thesis should not be seen as an investment advise. The results are based on data obtained from a specific ESG and does not necessarily look the same using other scenarios or different market data.

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