The 2012 P&I/Towers Watson global 300 pension funds ranking is prepared using joint research by Pensions & Investments and Towers Watson and includes a ranking of sovereign funds. Some of the highlights from this study are given below;

  • Assets under management (AUM) of the world’s largest pension funds totalled US$14.0 trillion in 2012.
  • Funds AUM increased by 9.8% in 2012, compared to 1.9% in 2011.
  • The top 20 funds had a growth rate of 8.6% in 2012, a smaller increase than the overall ranking.
  • North America remained the largest region in terms of AUM, accounting for 40.5% of the total worldwide assets.
  • Europe was the second-largest region (28.5%), followed by Asia-Pacific (26.3%). In 2012, the European funds experienced higher growth rate than the ones from Asia-Pacific.
  • The US and UK account for half of the funds in the ranking. However, both countries saw 29 of their funds drop from the top 300 since 2007, while only 11 new funds joined from these two countries.
  • Sovereign and public sector pension funds accounted for 66.4% of the total assets, with 133 funds in the top 300.
  • Defined Benefit funds accounted for 68.5% of the total assets, down from 69.7% in 2011. DB asset values grew by 7.6% in 2012, compared to 14.0% for DC, reserve funds and hybrids combined*.
  • On an arithmetic average basis, the top 20 funds invested approximately 40.4% of their assets in fixed income instruments and 39.9% in equities.