Pensions Account for 61% of Top 100 Asset Owners

Willis Towers Watson unit ranks the largest funds, with Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund on top.

The top 100 asset owners account for more than one-third of all global capital held by their peers, with pension funds holding the largest concentration of money.

At roughly $19 trillion, the 100 largest asset owners hold almost 35% of the world’s $55 trillion assets under management, and nearly 61% of the list’s ranks are pension funds, according to Willis Towers Watson’s Thinking Ahead Institute, which conducted the report.

The top 10 funds in the world are Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund ($1.4 trillion), Norway’s Government Pension Fund ($1.06 trillion), South Korea’s National Pension Service ($582.9 billion), the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board ($531.48 billion), China’s National Social Security Fund ($341.3 billion), the California Public Employees Retirement System ($336.6 billion), the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ($283.4 billion), Singapore’s Central Provident Fund ($269.1 billion), and the Netherlands’ PGGM ($262.2 billion).

In addition to owning 60.8% of all ranking assets, retirement organizations also control 67% of the total funds on the list. The average pension assets accounted for about $170 billion. The average for all funds was  $187 billion.

The remaining 39.2% of the top 100 asset owners are occupied mostly by sovereign wealth funds (32%), as well as outsourced chief investment officers and master trusts (7.2%).

As for regions, the largest region in assets under management was Asia Pacific (36%), with Europe, the Middle East and Africa (34%), and North America (30%) trailing closely.

Roger Urwin, global head of investment content at the Thinking Ahead Institute, said these large-scale institutions “have little choice but to take their financial and social responsibilities seriously, and not to shirk the big issues” as they are movers and shakers that can influence the global economy.

Urwin also said the top 100 asset owners need to understand the world they operate in over the next decade, meaning they should be “doing more to institutionalize professionalism, streamline operating models, leverage culture and diversity more effectively, and evolve the investment model into increasingly smart and sustainable arrangements.”

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