London: The world’s largest pension funds saw total assets fall back to 2006 levels last year, data from consultant Watson Wyatt showed on Monday.
The assets of the largest 300 schemes fell by 13% in 2008 to $10.4 trillion, although the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) was at around 10% over five years.
“The world’s largest pension funds were not exempt from the economic crisis and have been set back a number of years,” said Carl Hess, global head of investment consulting at Watson Wyatt.
“While, over a five-year period, they still show impressive growth, results in aggregate during the last decade have been more volatile,” he said.
The study, conducted with US publication Pensions & Investments, showed the Asia-Pacific region’s share of global pension assets -- about $3 trillion -- has surpassed that of Europe for the first time. The United States is still home to more than 40% of global pension assets, at $4.2 trillion.
CAGR figures, however, show that North American pension assets are struggling to keep pace. Asia-Pacific CAGR is at 19% over five years, while Europe’s is at 12% and North America is at 4%.
Japan has the second-largest individual market share by country at 19%, dominated by the $1.3 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, which tops the overall ranking for the sixth year in a row.
The research showed that assets held by Taiwanese funds grew at the fastest rate during the five years to the end of 2008, by 14% in dollar terms.