August 30, 2016
Sir, Keith Ambachtsheer writes: “If low investment returns are here to stay, those responsible for pension plans have a choice: wring their hands, or fulfill their fiduciary duty by rethinking what it means for the design of their schemes. Doing nothing is not an option.” “Long-term thinking will lead the way to improved returns” August 30.
Absolutely! But the long-term fiduciary duty should also include doing the best to reverse what has gotten us into this low interest rate and low economic growth environment.
That begins by protesting the risk weighted capital requirements, that which allow banks to leverage more, and to therefore obtain higher expected risk adjusted returns on equity, on assets ex ante perceived as safe than on assets perceived as risky.
It has distorted the allocation of credit causing the banks to populate (even dangerously overpopulate) the safe havens were traditionally widows, orphans and pension funds did their business.
Too low interest rates on public debt? How could it not be with risk weights of 100% for We the People and of 0% for the Government?
Let us also remember that if the real economy is in doldrums when the times come to cash in pension assets, whatever seems great now could be totally worthless.
Sir, if we do not rid banks from that regulatory introduced risk aversion that have stopped them from financing the future like lending to “risky” SMEs, and have them only refinance the “safer” past, then that future real economy is doomed to be in the doldrums.