Daniel Cavagnaro, Berk Sensoy, Yingdi Wang, Michael Weisbach, 10 September 2016

Investment officers are often the highest-paid individuals in institutions such as pension funds and foundations, because of the size and importance of the decisions they make. This column argues that successful investment officers earn their pay, because they make returns that can't be explained by luck alone. Therefore, institutional investors might benefit from investing in high-quality investment officers.

Avinash Persaud, 14 April 2016

Since the breakup of Bretton Woods in the early 1970s, the housing market has been at the centre of the biggest banking crises across the world. This column considers the nexus between housing, banking, and the economy, and how these ties can be broken. It argues for two modest regulatory changes in banking and insurance. These would result in life insurers and pension funds providing mortgage finance, better insulating the economy and homeowners from the housing cycle.

Roel Beetsma, Siert Vos, 23 February 2016

There is a broad consensus that banks and insurance companies may contribute to systemic risk in the financial system. For other financial market institutions, it is less clear-cut. This column examines the resilience of pension funds to severe shocks. While the evidence indicates that they are of low systematic importance, policy trends that apply to all financial players may undermine this. Specifically, risk-based solvency requirements carry the risk of homogenising the behaviour of all players, potentially amplifying shocks and destabilising markets.

Gaston Gelos, Hiroko Oura, 23 August 2014

The landscape of portfolio investment in emerging markets has evolved considerably over the past 15 years. Financial markets have deepened and become more internationally integrated. The mix of global investors has also changed, with more money intermediated by mutual funds. This column explains that these changes have made capital flows and asset prices in these economies more sensitive to global financial shocks. However, broad-based financial deepening and improved institutions can enhance the resilience of emerging-market economies.

Renata Bottazzi, Tullio Jappelli, Mario Padula, 16 September 2009

Pensions reforms are shifting retirement burdens onto private households. How will they respond? This column uses Italian data to show that households better informed about their future entitlements save more for retirement, but private wealth increases considerably less than one-for-one with the social security decreases.

Luc Laeven, Mariassunta Giannetti, 25 October 2007

Pension reforms around the world spur institutionalised saving and have the potential to create a new class of activist shareholders: pension funds. While many of these pension funds indeed attempt to affect corporate policies, the net effect of an increase in institutionalised saving on corporate governance and shareholder discipline need not be positive.

Tito Boeri, Lans Bovenberg, 16 May 2007

Pension Funds are by now the largest institutional investors in international financial markets. Better regulations are needed to guarantee a growth enhancing development of the pension fund industry. They concern both accounting and disclosure requirements, default options as well as the internal structure of pension funds. These regulations are more effective when accompanied with reforms of public pensions and labour markets.

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