The cult of the equity for pension funds: should it get the boot? Southampton, UK, University of Southampton, 34pp.
(Discussion Papers in Accounting & Finance, AF04-17).
Over the last half century UK defined benefit pension schemes have followed the cult of the equity by investing a large proportion of their assets in equities. However, since the turn of the millennium this cult has faced two serious challenges - the halving of equity prices, and the complete rejection of equity investment by the Boots pension scheme. This paper summarises the history of the cult in the UK and the arguments advanced at the time to support its adoption. It then presents the case for the cult (excluding taxation, risk sharing and default insurance). This is followed by a detailed consideration of the validity of this case, including an examination of the relevant empirical evidence. It is concluded that, in the absence of taxation, risk sharing and default insurance, the asset allocation is indeterminate; and depends on the risk-return preferences of the trustees and employer.
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