Financial Market Trends

OECD’s twice-yearly journal providing timely analyses and statistics on financial matters of topical interest and longer-term developments in specific financial sectors. Each issue provides a brief update of trends and prospects in the international and major domestic financial markets along with articles covering such topics as structural and regulatory developments in OECD financial systems, trends in foreign direct investment, trends in privatization, and financial sector statistics covering areas such as bank profitability, insurance, and institutional investors.

Periodically, a small number of articles within one field of financial sector developments – constituting the so-called special focus for the particular issue – may be included.


Asset Allocation Challenges for Pension Funds

Implications for Bond Markets

Pension funds have become the largest class of investors in many markets and, given their size, the allocation of their assets has important implications for the relative prices of financial assets. There may be a trend shift of private (defined benefit) pension fund asset allocation strategies away from equity to bonds, especially to government bonds, given their limited credit risk. The potential demand for such bonds could, in principle, be very substantial, sufficient in fact to result in a scarcity of such bonds in circulation. Many debt managers have taken advantage of current bond market conditions and issued long-term to ultra-long-term bonds. But whether they should follow a strategy of maturity-lengthening with the express aim to facilitate the task for pension fund managers is a different matter. Most policy makers would not recommend that governments undertake to issue long-term debt with the express intent of meeting this demand, not least because they expect the price mechanism to clear apparent imbalances in asset markets.


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