INSURANCE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's CPF retains ninth spot in world's biggest pension funds

It lagged behind South Korea's National Pension and China's National Social Security.

The Lion City’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) finished as the ninth biggest pension fund in the world with its assets hitting $369.6m (US$269.13m) in 2017, a research by advisory firm Willis Towers Watson revealed.

Based on the research by the firm’s Thinking Ahead Institute, Singapore remained in its 2016 spot and lagged behind other Asian counterparts. Amongst them were South Korea’s National Pension which placed third with assets totalling $800.5m (US$582,938), and China’s National Social Security which placed fourth as its assets hit $627.3m (US$456.9m).

“We saw Asian sovereign and public sector pension funds seeking or taking actions to diversify investments as reflected by new mandates awarded to their asset managers,” Willis Towers Watson head of investments Jayne Bok said.

These investments, according to Bok, range across sustainability-linked or ESG portfolio, global infrastructure, multi-asset, absolute or total return strategy, private market investments, alternative credit and more overseas investing.

The research also found that seven Asian funds made its way to the top 20 biggest pension funds. Their combined assets under management (AuM) surged 25.6% to to $4.53t (US$3.3t) in 2017. In total, the Asian funds made up 44.3% of the assets of the world’s top 20.

Within the Global 300, assets under management (AuM) of 49 Asia Pacific pension funds jumped 20% to almost $6.87t (US$5t) in 2017. Said growth has beaten the Global 300 funds’ over outpacing the Global 300 funds’ overall increase of 15.1%.

“Strong performance gains especially in this region during 2017 helped boost many Asian pension funds,” Bok noted. “However, uncertainties over geo-political and economic events that led to increasing market volatility in 2018 are seen asheadwinds to Asia and some emerging markets.”

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