Study Examines Herd Mentality in Pension Investing

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Pension funds exhibit a herd mentality when formulating investment strategies, according to a new paper that studied the investment decisions of UK pension funds over the last 25 years.

The paper, authored by David P. Blake, Lucio Sarno and Gabriele Zinna, claims that pension funds “display strong herding behavior” when making asset allocation decisions.

More on the paper’s conclusions, from ai-cio.com:

According to the study, there was overwhelming evidence of “reputational herding” behavior from pension funds—more so than individual investors.

Pension funds are often evaluated and compared to each other in performance, the paper said, creating a “fear of relative underperformance” that lead to asset owners picking the same asset mix, managers, and even stocks.

Data showed herding was most evident at the asset class level, with pension funds following others out of equities and into bonds at the same time. They were also likely to herd around the average fund manager producing the median return—or a “closet index matcher.”

The paper can be found here.

 

Photo by Nick Wheeler via Flickr CC License

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