Our approach to investment consultancy begins with the Asset Planning Cycle, shown below. We believe that, by following this process, Trustees will find that they are conforming to many of the Myners’ Principles and other best practice. It can be seen that the cycle is a continuous process. Although it is normal to start with Objectives and Attitudes to risk, the process does not stop when an investment policy has been implemented.
Our investment services include the following:
- asset-liability management (ALM) studies
- strategic asset allocation advice
- updates on issues and developments in investment markets
- monitoring the performance of the investment managers against their benchmarks
- quarterly bulletins to trustees covering the performance of their investments in relation to their objectives
- comment on the continued appropriateness of the trustees’ investment objectives
- liaison with the sponsoring employer, including discussion of his objectives.
We find that a useful and informative method of analysis for smaller schemes is to carry out projections that show the development of the scheme’s benefit payments over the future and how they might be affected by changes in life expectancy, inflation and members’ retirement plans and options. This approach is useful for determining which benefit payments are more predictable (and may, therefore, be closely matched by suitable assets) and which are more uncertain (and so cannot be matched). When the benefit cashflows are compared with expected contributions to the scheme, one can see when cashflows will turn negative. At that time the scheme investments will have to produce income if assets are not to be disinvested to pay benefits.