June 06, 2013

Adding Real Assets, Emerging Markets Securities, and Liquid Alternatives Could Improve Returns of Defined Contribution Retirement Plans, BNY Mellon Says

Changes Suggested to Close Performance Gap with Defined Benefit Plans

NEW YORK, June 6, 2013 — Broadening the investment options available to defined contribution (DC) retirement plans to include real assets, emerging market equities and debt, and liquid alternatives could improve risk-adjusted returns while reducing volatility and providing better protection against inflation, according to a white paper from BNY Mellon.

The results are published in the recent white paper, Retirement Reset: Using Non-Traditional Investment Solutions in DC Plans.

"Traditional DC plans do not provide the level of diversification and risk balance that plan participants require to achieve their retirement goals," said Robert G. Capone, executive vice president, BNY Mellon Retirement Group, and the author of the report. The report attributes the limited range of investment options included in DC plans as the primary reason for their inability to match the performance of defined-benefit (DB) plans. DB plans tend to incorporate a range of non-traditional assets.

The report notes non-traditional approaches could enhance the success of investors in the current environment, which it expects to be characterized by lower long-term expected returns, higher volatility and heightened inflation risk.

If DC plans were constructed more similarly to DB plans, approximately 20 percent of the DC plan assets would be allocated to non-traditional strategies such as real assets, total emerging markets (which combine equities and fixed income) and liquid alternatives, BNY Mellon said.

"Equities comprise a higher percentage of the DC portfolios than they do of DB portfolios," said Capone.   "We believe that applying the best DB practices to DC plans would reduce equity risk and home country bias as well as thoughtfully incorporating alternative investments to increase diversification, return potential and downside risk management."

The real asset portion of the DC portfolio proposed by BNY Mellon is designed to hedge against inflation and would include Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), real estate investment trusts (REITS), commodities and natural resource equities.

Combining emerging markets equity and fixed income would provide a more blended and balanced approach than allocating only to emerging markets equities, the report said.  The more balanced approach has the potential to reduce portfolio volatility and diversify country and currency risks than could be accomplished with only emerging markets equities, according to the report.

BNY Mellon sees liquid alternatives as a way to provide DC participants with strategies that have a low correlation to equities market.  "There is a wide range of liquid alternative strategies," said Capone.  "So, we are using three hedge fund indices as proxies for this asset class."

BNY Mellon Investment Management is one of the world's leading investment management organizations and one of the top U.S. wealth managers, with $1.4 trillion in assets under management. It encompasses BNY Mellon's affiliated investment management firms, wealth management services and global distribution companies. More information can be found at www.bnymellon.com.

BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle.  Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 36 countries and more than 100 markets.  As of March 31, 2013, BNY Mellon had $26.3 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.4 trillion in assets under management.  BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments.  BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK).  Additional information is available on http://www.bnymellon.com/, or follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon.

All information source BNY Mellon as of March 31, 2013. This press release is qualified for issuance in the US only and is for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or solicitation of securities or investment services or an endorsement thereof in any jurisdiction or in any circumstance in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful or not authorized. This press release is issued by BNY Mellon Investment Management to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice.  Past performance is not a guide to future performance.  A BNY Mellon Company.