Executive Recruitment

Investments

We manage funds in excess of £2.6 billion. Most of the assets of the pension schemes are pooled to allow the smaller schemes to access economies of scale and investment opportunities which might not be available to them otherwise.

For the pension schemes, we operate a Return Seeking Pool and Liability Matching Pools; each scheme also has liability-driven investments.

The Return Seeking Pool is managed by 20 managers.

We agreed a new asset allocation target for the pool during the year. This will further increase the diversification of the pool and reduce the volatility of its valuation.

The new target is long term and will be implemented over the next ten years. The allocation to public equities will reduce from its current level of around 70% to 35% over that period. There will be a further increase in exposure to investments that rely more on contractual income and that are less liquid - such as infrastructure, various forms of debt, and private equity.

We planned a programme of additional investment in global private infrastructure equity with a range of managers in late 2016 which has now been completed. This is expected to take around three years more to be fully drawn. In the meantime, the programme will be expanded further to reach the 10-year allocation target of 20% of the Return Seeking Pool.

Our top five equity investments at 31 December 2017 were in Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung Electronic and Wells Fargo.

In order to mitigate risk, we have implemented a Liability-driven investment (LDI) framework for each scheme, in addition to their holdings in the Liability Matching Pool.

Using a range of instruments, including Gilts, bonds, swaps and repos, an LDI investment strategy is constructed that closely matches the behaviour of the pension liabilities. As such, it goes to the heart of pension scheme investing.

The Liability Matching Pool is invested solely in corporate bonds.

The Return Seeking Pool returned 11.3% and the Liability Matching Pool 4.3% in 2017. This is particularly pleasing, as it follows the exceptionally strong 2016 performance, when the Return Seeking Pool returned 19.2%.

 

1 year %pa

3 years %pa

5 years %pa

10 years %pa

15 years %pa

Return Seeking Pool

11.3

10.7

11.8

6.7

8.8

Liability Matching Pool

4.3

4.9

6.5

8.1

7.8

RPI +3% Comparator

7.1

5.6

5.4

5.8

6.0

Equities were the significant driver of performance in 2017, as they were in 2016. The Fund’s public equity portfolio returned 13.8% over the year. Emerging Market Equities were the stand-out performers, with the Fund’s portfolio returning 28.8% over the year.

Long-dated Gilt issues were under pressure during the year. The CEFPS has a bias to longer maturities, albeit that was reduced during the year, resulting in its LDI account returning -0.9% in 2017. The FTSE Over 5-year Index-linked Gilt Index returned 2.5% over the year. The Scheme’s LDI account has, however, returned 22.2% from its inception in May 2016 to the end of 2017.

Index-linked Gilts posted modest returns over the year, with the FTSE Over 5-Year Index-linked Gilt index appreciating by 2.5% in 2017. The LDI account for the CWPF and CAPF returns were 2.6%. The LDI frameworks were implemented less than three years ago so longer-term returns are not available.

The charitable funds are invested with CCLA Investment Management, Savills Investment Management and Mayfair Capital Investment Management.