UK trustees rate investment as their greatest challenge

More than half of trustees (51%) say that investment is the most important challenge facing their defined benefit (DB) scheme in the future.

A further 41% of the 250 trustees surveyed, said that the most important issue for them was negotiating contributions from employers, according to the Aon Consulting Pension trustee survey 2008.

The survey also found that trustees are increasingly looking at alternative investments, with more than a quarter (27%) of respondents saying they thought their investment portfolio will have diversified into alternative assets over the next five years.

In a bid to remove exposure from recent risks associated with the volatile market, 50% of trustees said they have taken action to remove risk from equity markets, whilst 31% have taken action to remove risks from interest rates and 39% have done the same in relation to inflation.

Milan Makhecha, consultant and actuary at Aon Consulting, said: “The survey shows that getting the right investment strategy in place is the most critical issue facing trustees. This aspect of a trustee’s role is especially challenging in a rapidly-diversifying investment market. Pension funds are under pressure to de-risk portfolios by investing a greater proportion of assets in the bond and alternative investment market. At the same time, trustees are actively looking at other strategies to enhance their returns while reducing their correlation to equity markets.

“We think this will be reflected in greater enthusiasm for alternative assets, such as private equity, hedge funds and others, over the coming years.”