1887

OECD Working Papers on Insurance and Private Pensions

Selected studies on insurance and private pensions policy prepared for use within the OECD and addressing such policy issues as risk management, governance, types of investments, and benefit protection. This working papers series has been discontinued; it is superseded by ‘OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions’ available via: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/20797117.

English

Pension Fund Investment in Infrastructure

As the need for investment in infrastructure continues to grow, private sector financing for infrastructure projects has developed around the world. Given the long-term growth and (potentially) low correlation aspects of infrastructure investments, pension funds have also shown interest in increasing their exposure to this area, along with their move into alternative assets. Such investments cover a wide spectrum of projects – from economic infrastructure such as transport, to social projects such as hospitals – and involve different forms of financing (primary vs. secondary, debt vs. equity, private vs. listed, direct vs. indirect). Data explaining the size, risk, return and correlations of this diverse asset class is therefore limited, which may be making pension fund investors cautious. Given investing in such assets also involves new types of investment vehicles and risk for pension funds to manage – such as exposure to leverage, legal and ownership issues, environmental risks as well as regulatory and political challenges – such caution may well be justified. However, if governments wish to help infrastructure developers tap into potentially important sources of financing such as pension funds, certain steps can be taken. This paper is designed as an overview piece, discussing if pension funds should invest in infrastructure on a theoretical basis, whether they do in practice, and, if not, how (and if) regulators can encourage and assist them to do so.

English

Keywords: listed securities, barriers, pensions, risk, diversification, alternative assets, infrastructure, returns, private finance, asset allocation, regulatory constraints
JEL: G23: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Pension Funds; Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors; G18: Financial Economics / General Financial Markets / General Financial Markets: Government Policy and Regulation; G28: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation; G15: Financial Economics / General Financial Markets / International Financial Markets; J26: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Retirement; Retirement Policies
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