Research

Since 2008 we have completed 79 research projects. In this section we share examples of our Latest Research, describe our forthcoming 2018 Research Schedule and examples of our pre-2018 Published Research. And we provide access to back copies of our regular publication Deeper Perspectives (which used to be called ‘Broad Brush’).

European DB and DC Pensions 2014
Publication Date February 2014
Description

This report analyses the DB and DC pension systems of the 8 European countries which hold the largest value in funded and workplace pensions. We have classified pensions into four segments according to their behaviour: pure DB, semi DB, semi DC and pure DC.  The 28 elements of the pension systems which we have covered in aggregate hold funded assets of €5.2trn.  Two features of our work are: opportunities and influencers.  We have identified 21 product opportunities, by which we mean an identified growing demand for that type of strategy from pension clients, and the DB or DC pension elements in which we think demand exists. We have also looked at who influences decision making and where these influencers sit on the distribution maps we have drawn for each of the 28 elements. 

Service Market Intelligence
UK Defined Contribution Market Intelligence 2014
Publication Date December 2014
Description

In this, my first year of taking over responsibility for the creation of this influential report, now in its fifth annual edition, we have focused on the impact of an extraordinary year of change in the pensions world.  

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
UK Retirement Income Market Intelligence 2014
Publication Date October 2014
Description

This is our second annual study focusing on the opportunities for investment suppliers in the at retirement and retirement income markets in the UK. We offer detailed forecasts of the assets, revenues and distribution flows of the now preferred investment backed income products found in drawdown wrappers and guaranteed funds. 

Sector Retirement Income
Service Market Intelligence
UK Defined Benefit Market Intelligence 2014
Publication Date September 2014
Description

Second Annual report- An analysis of the UK DB market with a special focus on the developments in the solution-type offerings in the market. It offers unique data, insight and forecasts and is delivered either as a single report or as part of the Market Intelligence service

Sector DB Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Investment Products- Diversified Growth Funds 2014
Publication Date April 2014
Description

This is the second annual report on this growing and intriguing product family.  We have expanded our sample and have more accurate information about segregated mandate DGF usage.

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
Investment Products 2014- Smart Beta Funds
Publication Date April 2014
Description

Created in partnership with CAMRADATA, this is our first annual report on the large number of emerging hybrid funds that are either semi-active or semi-passive depending on which point of view you take. 

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
UK Retirement Income Market Intelligence 2015
Publication Date October 2015
Description

This is our third annual study focusing on the opportunities for investment suppliers in the at retirement and retirement income markets in the UK. We offer detailed forecasts of the assets, revenues and distribution flows of the now preferred investment backed income products found in drawdown wrappers and guaranteed funds. 

Sector Retirement Income
Service Market Intelligence
Investment Product Market Intelligence 2015 Smart Beta Funds
Publication Date June 2015
Description

Created in partnership with CAMRADATA, this is our second annual report on the large number of emerging hybrid funds that are either semi-active or semi-passive depending on which point of view you take. 

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
Investment Products Market Intelligence 2015 Diversified Growth Funds
Publication Date July 2015
Description

This is the third annual report on this growing and intriguing product family.  We have expanded our sample and have more accurate information about segregated mandate DGF usage.

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
UK Defined Benefit Market Intelligence 2015
Publication Date September 2015
Description

Third annual report into the UK DB market, focusing in particular on the developments in the solution-type offerings in the market and offering unique data, insight and forecasts.  Delivered as a single report or as part of a Market Intelligence service

Sector DB Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
European Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Market Intelligence 2015
Publication Date November 2015
Description

The first annual study into the pensions market in Europe that does not provide final salary guarantees to its members.  This includes 'DC' and hybrid DC/DB offerings which characterise much of the European market.  The report offers unique data, insight and forecasts.  Delivered as a single report or as part of a Market Intelligence service

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Insurance Asset Management Market Intelligence 2015
Publication Date December 2015
Description

The third annual report into the market to manage the on balance sheet assets of insurance companies in Europe.  

Sector Insurance Asset Management
Service Market Intelligence
UK Defined Contribution Market Intelligence 2015
Publication Date December 2015
Description

The fifth annual study into this growing but still relatively small part of the UK pensions market, offering unique data, insight and forecasts.  Delivered as a single report or as part of a Market Intelligence service

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
European Institutional Intelligence
Publication Date December 2014
Description

This report will draw together all the conclusions we have reached on each separate part of the market  during 2014.  Some examples of the questions we might be able to address are:  Where will  growth be greatest across the whole institutional market?  What patterns of demand are emerging across institutional clients?  

Service Market Intelligence
Thought Leadership - A top tool for troubled times 2009
Description

‘Thought Leadership’ is an ideal tool for the current climate.  It delivers the Sales Team’s need for fresh conversation openings in these fast-changing times, and Marketing’s need for a low-cost communications channel in an era of vanishing budgets. 

Diversified Growth Funds Market Intelligence 2013
Description

First annual report - In this important new report, we describe for the first time the attractive growth prospects of the DGF market, the key to distribution and communication of DGF product and the blueprint for success in DGF fund design.

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
Excellence in Pensions Investment 2012
Description

Identification of the key elements of excellence in pensions management in the UK for a leading international asset management firm

Sector DB Pensions
Service Thought Leadership
DC pensions - Collective Communications 2010
Description

Solving the communications problem in DC Pensions will be helped by a new “collective” model, where members of many schemes are communicated to at the same time.   This already happens in other countries, and we predict that it will start to emerge in the UK. 

Insurance Asset Management Market Intelligence 2013
Description

First annual report - The report contains the core strategic information and insights essential to building or growing your insurance asset management business

Sector Insurance Asset Management
Service Market Intelligence
Fiduciary Management Research 2011
Description

Identifying opportunities for Fiduciary Management in leading European countries for an international asset management firm

Sector Investment Products
Service Strategic Advisory
Fiduciary Management Market Intelligence 2013
Description

Second annual report - An introduction to all the key issues and statistics in the Fiduciary Management market in the UK 2012-2013

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
The prodigious use of passive funds in UK DC 2011
Description

Thought leadership report for DCIF - A new perspective on the use of Passive funds in UK DC

Sector DC Pensions
Service Thought Leadership
Defined Contribution Market Intelligence 2012
Description

Third annual report - Published in December 2012, this is an introduction to all the key issues and statistics in the Defined Contribution pension market in the UK 2011-12

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Defined Contribution Pensions Comms 2010
Description

A global survey collecting learning from around the world to help improve DC Communications in the UK

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
5 Futures of Defined Contribution Pensions 2009
Description

Prediction of future trends in UK Defined Contribution

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
DC pensions - The gold rush 2009
Description

Few people would associate the UK DC market with a gold rush. Now may be the time for a rethink. We go so far as to suggest that the DC gold rush could throw up a new pool of £600bn in assets. 

DC Market Size is given a size for the first time 2012
Description

An important statistic that has emerged in an Office for National Statistics (ONS) report issued two weeks ago. For the first time, we have been given an official measurement of the size of the Defined Contribution (DC) market in the UK. 

Outsourced CIO Market Intelligence 2013
Description

First annual report - A detailed analysis of the US and European Outsourced CIO and  Fiduciary Management markets

 

 

Sector DB Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Defined Contribution Provider Benchmarks 2012
Description

Third annual report for leading UK pensions providers sharing data on confidential basis to establish key industry trends

Sector DC Pensions
Service Benchmarking
Active Governance in UK DC 2012
Description

Thought leadership report for DCIF - Five things Trustees can do to improve DC scheme member outcomes

Sector DC Pensions
Service Thought Leadership
New Centres of Influence in Corporate Pensions 2011
Description

An exploration of the changing role of Finance Directors in UK pensions

Sector DB Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Growth in DC assets 2012
Description

DC assets will grow at 11.6% pa to triple in size over the next 10 years, we say.

Russell Pensions Governance Index 2013
Description

Sponsored by Russell Investments, this report written by Spence Johnson is based on the data from 90 schemes covering £243bn of assets, the Index comprises six measures, including the cost of governance and degree of delegation. By exploring differences in index values pension schemes will be able to ratify or challenge different aspects of their governance

Sector DB Pensions
Service Benchmarking
DC Default Fund developments 2012
Description

DC Default funds evolve from the primeval slime

DC Investment Only (DCIO) Report 2011
Description

A report highlighting trends in US DC Investment Only, and what these might mean for the UK

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Fiduciary Management starts to mature 2012
Description

Throughout 2012 we have uncovered growing evidence that the European Fiduciary Management market is maturing. This will continue to have a significant impact on the wider institutional investment landscape. 

Future of Fixed Income 2009
Description

Thought Leadership report, developed and executed for an international Asset Management firm

Sector DB Pensions
Service Thought Leadership
DC pensions - A Fruitful Segmentation of the market 2011
Description

Like an orange, the DC market in the UK is both one big thing, and several segments. We have found that the segments are each quite different. Without understanding the differences in the segments, you cannot understand the whole, well, fruit.

Guarantees Funds in DC Pensions 2012
Description

Guarantees will re-emerge in the middle ground in UK pensions

Retirement Income Market Intelligence 2013
Description

First annual report - The nature and scale of the opportunity for investment offerings designed for those who are approaching or already enjoying retirement

Sector Retirement Income
Service Market Intelligence
5 Futures of Asset Management 2009
Description

Prediction of future trends in European asset management

Sector DB Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Offshore Distribution - From Backwater to mainstream 2009
Description

As markets start to recover, we think that one of the most attractive opportunities will be catering to upwardly mobile professionals from developing markets via distribution networks in the International Financial Centres. We asked distributors in three of these centres what they wanted from their providers.

The Consultants - Watching with interest, and awe 2011
Description

The Consultants are doing a good job.  They face challenges for sure, and we often hear about the many pressures they face and the weaknesses in their models that  they must overcome.  Some of this is reflected in the six observations in this piece. 

DC Market Intelligence 2013
Description

This is Spence Johnson’s fourth annual study on this market, was released in November 2013. It contains 40 predictions on the future of DC to help investment suppliers build their business plans.  Now widely quoted by leading observers like the OFT and NAPF, DCMI is the leading analysis of this fast growing and complex market.

Sector DC Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
Defined Benefit Market Intelligence 2013
Description

First Annual Report - An analysis of the UK Defined Benefits pensions market with special focus on the emergence and likely growth of solutions based investment offerings such as Fiduciary Management and LDI

Sector DB Pensions
Service Market Intelligence
DC Default Fund Design
Description

In a study created for the DC Investment Forum in Association with the National Association of Pensions Funds (NAPF) Spence Johnson has carried out research into recent trends in default fund design in DC pensions in the UK using 8 case studies.

Sector DC Pensions
Service Thought Leadership
Fiduciary Management - Getting to grips with the finer details 2011
Description

Everyone has heard of Fiduciary Management. It has grown to become a prominent part of the institutional asset management and consulting business in Europe. And yet ... no one seems entirely clear what it is. We try to clarify.

5 Futures Fiduciary Management 2009
Description

Prediction of future trends in European Fiduciary Management

Sector Investment Products
Service Market Intelligence
CDI emerging as UK DB schemes turn increasingly cashflow negative
Publication Date January 2018
Title CDI emerging as UK DB schemes turn increasingly cashflow negative
Description

In this Deeper Perspectives we explore some of the key themes from our most recent Insights report – UK Defined Benefit 2017.

Currently most schemes finance their negative cashfows through divestment, meaning that they risk having to liquidate their assets in down markets and therefore crystallise losses. Cashflow driven investment is emerging as means of providing income for when they need to pay out their pensioners, while also providing access to growth assets.

Click the graphic to download

APAC institutions to outsource US$12trillion by 2021
Publication Date October 2017
Title APAC institutions to outsource US$12trillion by 2021
Description

In this Deeper Perspectives we explore some of the key themes from our most recent Market Intelligence report, APAC Institutional Client Opportunities - Rising 3Cs: Collaborate, Centralise, Consolidate.  

China, Australia and Japan are the key markets, accounting for over 80% of total addressable assets. However, “domestic addressable” assets—assets invested locally--will still account for the majority (more than 60%) of assets in 2021. 

Click the graphic to download

UK Drawdown’s long road to opportunity
Publication Date July 2017
Title UK Drawdown’s long road to opportunity
Description

In this issue, we combine our latest research on UK Defined Contribution and UK Retirement Income.

With pension freedoms increasing choice for new retirees in the UK, taking pensions in drawdown is now the most common choice, ahead of annuities. As a result, we have already seen growth in drawdown AUM, and expect this to continue into the future, especially with changing targets for DC workplace schemes.
However, product development within the drawdown range will need to occur to meet the necessary requirements of delivery for the end consumers.

Click the graphic to download

Multi-Asset Funds: A Global Strategic Growth Opportunity
Publication Date May 2017
Title Multi-Asset Funds: A Global Strategic Growth Opportunity
Description

In this issue, we combine our latest research on APAC and European Multi-Asset product markets to highlight why now is the time for US asset managers to deploy their multi-asset allocation capabilities for this global growth opportunity.

Click the graphic to download

It pays to align with APAC’s most influential investors
Publication Date May 2017
Title It pays to align with APAC’s most influential investors
Description

With over a third of outsourced assets concentrated within the top 10 institutional investors in APAC, it pays for asset managers to focus their efforts on this group. Notwithstanding, their investment habits are often emulated by smaller peers in the region, creating a ripple effect for asset managers who can successfully establish themselves as trusted advisors. 

Click the graphic to download

APAC Asset Management: New ideas, New Regulation, New opportunities
Publication Date May 2017
Title APAC Asset Management: New ideas, New Regulation, New opportunities
Description

The opening up of the China market for onshore investment product licenses is leading US managers to seek control of full-scale operations on the ground. While retail investors are the operational focus, a key growth segment for foreign managers is institutional. Pensions in particular has huge potential due to the relatively low penetration of Multi-Asset funds. 

Click the graphic to download

APAC multi-asset funds: a trillion dollar opportunity
Publication Date April 2017
Title APAC multi-asset funds: a trillion dollar opportunity
Description

The vast array of multi-asset funds, coupled with a diverse regulatory landscape and clientele, means knowing your clients and matching their demands with the right products is key to winning assets.

Click the graphic to download

The rise of ESG and Factor-Investing in Euro DC Pensions
Publication Date April 2017
Title The rise of ESG and Factor-Investing in Euro DC Pensions
Description

Despite the huge diversity in the characteristics of each DC market, factor-investing and the incorporation of ESG considerations within investment policy are emerging as two pervasive trends across European DC pensions. 

Click the graphic to download

A paradigm shift in Insurance Asset Management
Publication Date March 2017
Title A paradigm shift in Insurance Asset Management
Description

In the past, asset managers may have seen selling to insurers as pitching a range of products. In reality, due to the particular demands of insurers, outsourcing is an opportunity for asset managers to be active and help create a bespoke solution, unique to the issues faced by each insurer.

Click the graphic to download

DGFs – new tactical opportunities emerge
Publication Date January 2017
Title DGFs – new tactical opportunities emerge
Description

In this latest Deeper Perspectives, we look at how new growth in assets for DGF providers will come from new sources, particularly through UK DC schemes as well as non-UK clients. While this creates new tactical opportunities, successful providers will need to be aware of the specific needs of each client group.

Click the graphic to download

2016 trends in Institutional - a year of change
Publication Date December 2016
Title 2016 trends in Institutional - a year of change
Description

2016 has been a year of change. We have said goodbye to heroes such as David Bowie, and royalty such as Prince, and we have said hello to President-elect Donald Trump and understood that Brexit means Brexit.

In this special edition of Deeper Perspectives we look at three of the major themes prominent in the global institutional asset management business in 2016

Click the graphic to download



LGPS – A changing competitive environment for asset managers
Publication Date October 2016
Title LGPS – A changing competitive environment for asset managers
Description

In this latest Deeper Perspectives, we look at local authority pension schemes in more detail. The 89 local authority schemes across England and Wales are in the process of being amalgamated into 6 or more. This means that asset managers will have to adjust to a vastly different competitive environment. 

Click the graphic to download

UK private DB – A changing distribution landscape for third party investment suppliers
Publication Date October 2016
Title UK private DB – A changing distribution landscape for third party investment suppliers
Description

As a result of the difficult situation faced by schemes, providers of ‘solutions’ have been the main beneficiaries of the continued growth in private DB assets.  

Click the graphic to download

APAC Institutional opportunity doubles by 2025
Publication Date September 2016
Title APAC Institutional opportunity doubles by 2025
Description

In this Deeper Perspectives we explore some findings from our APAC focused Market Intelligence report, APAC Institutional Client Opportunities where strong growth from existing investors and emergence of new investors mean the region could see a close to doubling of addressable assets in the next 10 years. 

Click the graphic to download



Smart Beta: multi factor vs alternative index
Publication Date September 2016
Title Smart Beta: multi factor vs alternative index
Description

Smart beta growth reflects a face-off between more ‘active’ multi-factor strategies and more ‘passive’ alternative index approaches

Click the graphic to download

Asia Pacific institutions – strength in numbers
Publication Date June 2016
Title Asia Pacific institutions – strength in numbers
Description

Partnerships, co-investments and asset pooling on the rise as Asian institutions take a more collaborative approach towards investments

Trends in client relationship management: 2008-2015
Publication Date March 2016
Title Trends in client relationship management: 2008-2015
Description

Responsiveness to queries and requests is the most essential factor for excellent client management in institutional asset management. Institutional clients have placed this as their biggest requirement every year since 2008.

Insurance outsourcing growth 6% pa to €1.1trn by 2024
Publication Date February 2016
Title Insurance outsourcing growth 6% pa to €1.1trn by 2024
Description

Low interest rates and reduced underwriting margins, along with the long overdue implementation of Solvency II, continue to drive increased outsourcing by European insurance companies

Unconstrained Fixed Income: providing yield and rate risk protection
Publication Date December 2015
Title Unconstrained Fixed Income: providing yield and rate risk protection
Description

Our Institutional Money in Motion (iMiM) data set shows significant inflows into UFI from corporate treasuries, DB pension funds and insurance companies. This may be the future of fixed income investing in a low yield environment. 

The changing UK retirement income market
Publication Date November 2015
Title The changing UK retirement income market
Description

The changing UK retirement income market

Pension freedoms will continue to drive rapid transformation of the UK retirement income market as it grows from £699bn in 2014 to £1,098bn by 2024. 

UK DB Pensions - Winter is Coming
Publication Date November 2015
Title UK DB Pensions - Winter is Coming
Description

UK DB Pensions - Winter is Coming

Only 13% of schemes are still open, net contributions are falling and the investment needs of DB schemes are fundamentally changing. Asset managers' approach to this market does not need ‘tuning’, it will need to be completely reimagining if they are to be successful.

Opportunities in Insurance Asset Management
Publication Date October 2015
Title Opportunities in Insurance Asset Management
Description

Insurance Asset Management 

The search for yield in a low interest rate environment and regulatory pressure are factors driving outsourcing opportunities in insurance asset management  

Diversified Growth Funds - New players win market share
Publication Date October 2015
Title Diversified Growth Funds - New players win market share
Description

The DGF market grew 15% to £124bn at the end of 2014. UK DB and DC pension assets represent the key clients for almost all DGF managers, together representing 70%+ of the client base for most funds.

Smart Beta - Our fastest growing MI segment
Publication Date July 2015
Title Smart Beta - Our fastest growing MI segment
Description

The rapid expansion of the Smart Beta market in 2014 makes it the fastest growing market segment covered by Spence Johnson’s Market Intelligence Service

Targeting growth markets in European Institutional
Publication Date June 2015
Title Targeting growth markets in European Institutional
Description

Consultants do well in markets where fragmentation deprives schemes of the economic ability to retain skilled management in house. This skill often resides in large schemes that are common in continental Europe but rare in the UK. 

Excellent client management provides tangible added value 2015
Publication Date February 2015
Title Excellent client management provides tangible added value 2015
Description

In this edition Spence Johnson reveals what it is that makes for excellence in client management.  

European Pensions 2014- Opportunities across the map
Publication Date February 2014
Title European Pensions 2014- Opportunities across the map
Description

The UK is hugely fragmented compared to the rest of Europe: it is broken into more than 200,000 pieces.  Assets per scheme in the UK are 450 times smaller than in Denmark. 

UK Defined Contribution 2014 -The year of the master trust
Publication Date January 2015
Title UK Defined Contribution 2014 -The year of the master trust
Description

As with target date funds, master trusts also offer a less intermediate channel than those for more traditional trust or contract-based schemes, especially in the large scheme sector.

Deeper Perspectives 2014 yearbook
Publication Date December 2014
Title Deeper Perspectives 2014 yearbook
Description

Our 2014 Deeper Perspectives yearbook includes our regular analysis of strategic issues in the institutional investment business across our 5 sectors.

European Growth Opportunities 2014
Publication Date November 2014
Title European Growth Opportunities 2014
Description

The European institutional market is a market going through transformation. As this transformation takes place, we have identified three growth opportunities that US managers could take advantage of.

UK Retirement Income 2014-Opportunities in a transformed market
Publication Date October 2014
Title UK Retirement Income 2014-Opportunities in a transformed market
Description

Retirement Income is becoming an investment based fund market. Both the life pensions and asset management sectors are facing major challenges to project and grow their strategic  interests in this £1.7 trillion opportunity.

UK Defined Benefit 2014- Solutions for the end game
Publication Date September 2014
Title UK Defined Benefit 2014- Solutions for the end game
Description

Since 2002 a wave of ‘tools’ have emerged in UK Defined Benefit (DB), each of which aim to help pensions achieve their goals.  Some of these tools are ‘solutions’ to derisking challenges.  The assets of leading solutions in UK DB has grown between 5 and 10 times in size since 2007.  

Diversified Growth Funds 2014 - Still room for new players
Publication Date May 2014
Title Diversified Growth Funds 2014 - Still room for new players
Description

The DGF market will grow to £203 billion by 2018.  Much of this growth story is a DB pension one (44%), but the export of DGF strategies abroad has also led to a large influx of assets from non-UK investors. 

Smart Beta 2014- The new alternative
Publication Date April 2014
Title Smart Beta 2014- The new alternative
Description

Investors increasingly see Smart Beta as an alternative to ‘active’.  Although Smart Beta allocations have in the past been funded out of passive allocations, there is evidence of a clear trend of investors beginning to fund Smart Beta allocations from ‘active’ budgets. 

The Three Spirits of Pensions Past, Present & Future 2013
Publication Date December 2013
Title The Three Spirits of Pensions Past, Present & Future 2013
Description

In this holiday edition of  Deeper Perspectives we evoke the Three Spirits of Pensions Past, Present and Future – to enlighten and inspire our readers about the exciting world of pension investment. 

The future of UK workplace pensions 2013
Publication Date November 2013
Title The future of UK workplace pensions 2013
Description

In this new edition of  Deeper Perspectives, we make four predictions of the future of workplace pensions that could have a significant impact on your strategic planning today.

New opportunities in Insurance Asset Management 2013
Publication Date Ed 16 October 2013
Title New opportunities in Insurance Asset Management 2013
Description

This edition of Deeper Perspectives shares some  high level findings of our European Insurance Asset Management Market Intelligence 2013 report and describes growing and changing revenue opportunity for asset managers in the European insurance market.

The US Outsourced CIO Market 2013
Publication Date June 2013 - Number 15
Title The US Outsourced CIO Market 2013
Description

We share high level findings of our OCIO Market Intelligence report, and we describe one very clear winner emerging in this market.