10.11.2018
By John D'Antona

Investors Shun Equities for Other Assets

Investors are on the move – out of equities.

High valuations, corporate buybacks and rising interest rates have made equities look more unfavorable as an investment against other asset classes, thus prompting institutional investors to look for alpha and return elsewhere, according to new research from Investment Metrics. After reviewing 1,400 plans within the Investment Metrics (IM) plan universe across four plan types, the research firm found some interesting changes in asset allocations over a 3 ½ year period. Across most plan types, corporates, publics, and endowments & foundations, it has seen a shift away from US equity in favor of other asset classes.

“This comes at a time when the US stock market is on the verge of completing its longest bull run in history,” the authors of the study wrote. “Most plans have rebalanced their portfolios towards the lower end of their target allocation to US equity, or, they have shifted to global equity instead, diversifying their equity risk.”

Corporate plans have aggressively incorporated a liability driven investing approach in the recent period, demonstrated by the significant increase in their US fixed income allocation. Public plans have used the funds from US equity and placed them into alternatives, primarily private equity, as well as non-US equity.

Meanwhile, endowments and foundations comparatively had the largest increase to non-US equity, this asset class includes global, international, and emerging markets equity portfolios. With increased concerns over inflation, all plan types have increased their allocations to real estate in order to protect themselves from a surge in inflation.

“What is clear from these shifts in portfolio allocations is many plans are looking to lower the risk in their portfolios,” the report said.

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