This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the annual and of the long-term performance of personal pension funds relative to their Primary Prospectus Benchmarks (PPBs) and T-bills. The study covers 9,659 personal pension funds from across all 30 ABI investment sectors that operated in the UK in the 1980-2009 period. Of these, 4,531 pension funds are compared against their PPBs. The performance measured by ordinary excess returns over the UK T-bills and over PPBs, as well as the Sharpe ratio, Sharpe ratio adjusted for skewness and kurtosis, Sortino ratio in relation to the UK T-bills and PPBs, and the Modigliani-Modigliani measure (M2) are calculated for arithmetic, geometric and log returns. We find convincing evidence that pension funds lack challenging long-term performance targets. We argue that the existing PPBs are easy to outperform given that funds are allowed to diversify in assets not included in their PPBs. We discuss policy implications of our findings.
- pension funds, portfolio performance, asset management, diversification, benchmark selection, Sharpe ratio