May 2, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Russell Investments and Barclays launched a set of investable liability-driven investment (LDI) fixed income benchmarks for U.S. corporate pension funds.
The companies said the Barclays-Russell LDI Index Series offers pension fund investors a standard set of rules-based and transparent fixed income benchmarks which are designed to offer better liability tracking properties than traditional benchmarks currently in use.
"In speaking with clients through LDI consulting and asset management conversations, it became clear that plan sponsors needed a way to more accurately hedge their liabilities, but they also still wanted a transparent and investable index set to benchmark their fixed income managers against. Currently available fixed income index products were not fully addressing those needs," said Martin Jaugietis, CFA and director of LDI Solutions at Russell Investments. "By collaborating with a leading fixed income index provider like Barclays, we are able to fill this gap."
The Barclays-Russell LDI Index Series is available for a wide range of investors, including defined benefit pension plans, dedicated fixed income asset managers looking to broaden their LDI product suite and plan sponsors with more than half of total pension assets in LDI fixed income that want a more appropriate measure of liability returns.
The Series consists of six high quality, mostly corporate-bond-based, benchmarks with target durations of 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 years. Each LDI index is reconstituted annually back to the targeted maturity minimum range to reflect changes in market yields while minimizing turnover and rebalanced monthly to remove bonds falling below the maturity threshold or quality standard and add newly issued bonds that qualify. Issuer concentration is reduced through a 2% issuer cap. When using the Series, investors will be able to select a single LDI index or a combination to most accurately reflect their specific liabilities.
"By better matching the risk and return characteristics of typical liability streams with a smart cash bond-selection strategy, the Barclays-Russell LDI Index Series is a useful performance target for investment portfolios designed to fund specific liabilities," said Brian Upbin, head of Benchmark Index Research for Barclays. "This rules-based index series will give asset owners, asset managers and investment managers a new portfolio benchmarking tool."