Our second annual review of Fiduciary Manager (FM) performance, covering 2021 and including over £95 billion in FM assets under management, is now available and free for you to download.

This performance review evaluates performance across total pension fund assets relative to changes in liabilities.

Thanks to standardised (GIPS®) performance methodology we are able to consider the performance across a range of FM mandates with comparable risk-return objectives. In doing so, we build a picture of how FMs have impacted pension funding positions.

Central bank activity and government support in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic was a key factor for markets again. This led to an incredibly positive financial environment for pension schemes, with equity markets up around 20% and liability values falling.

The challenge for FMs was to capture as much funding level improvements as they could within their mandate guidelines while contending with the Competition and Markets Authority’s new rules for the industry.

Within this backdrop, our review has identified the following key points:

Key trends

  • the large majority of fiduciary managers achieved their outperformance objectives over 2021;
  • this led to improving funding levels, which in turn enabled the continuation of the de-risking trend we have observed in recent years;
  • longer-term performance of fiduciary managers is ahead of target in most cases;
  • when we consider returns on a risk-adjusted basis, few managers produced meaningfully better returns than could have been achieved using a simpler portfolio outside of fiduciary management;
  • relative to their FM competitors, very few managers consistently produce ‘top half’ performance year-on-year; and
  • we have also highlighted the importance of other key measures of FM performance, particularly in developing areas of advisory and reporting services, ESG and stewardship integration, and fee levels.

Our review explores each of the above points, bringing in examples of how FM investment activity has impacted performance.

We would stress the importance of scheme-specific analysis when evaluating the performance of your FM. In a year in which FMs have generally achieved their financial objectives, it will be important to consider performance through multiple lenses to judge whether they have genuinely added value. Consideration of risk-adjusted returns, investment relative to peers and other performance measures will be key.

Please contact Peter Daniels if you would like to discuss any of the above topics in more detail.

On-demand webinar

Our webinar presents the findings of our review of Fiduciary Manager investment performance over 2021. This is a must-watch for any pension scheme trustee interested in how their FM is performing compared to the wider industry.