Recent research by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America says that despite the current financial turmoil, the global retirement market is expected to grow by 66% by 2020, an annual growth rate of 4.7%. The data, released by Allianz Demographic Pulse, also states that total pension assets during this time period will increase from $28 trillion to $46 trillion. The United States is the leading retirement market in the world, the Demographic Pulse states, covering slightly more than half of the world's total retirement assets of nearly $28 trillion in 2009. The United Kingdom followed the United States with 11.5% of the global retirement market, while Western Europe's combined retirement assets came to slightly more than 20%. Australia and Japan each had 3% of the global market, while the emerging economies of Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, which are still in the early stages of building up their individual funded pension systems, represented currently only minor shares (1.8% and 0.4%, respectively).
Hand Benefits & Trust Company (HB&T) has selected Blue Prairie Group LLC (BPG), an independent, fee-based retirement and investment consulting firm based in Chicago, and Target Date Solutions (TDS) as managers of the SMART Fund target-date collective investment trusts. David Hand, CEO of HB&T, says that the SMART Funds have been around for more than 10 years, but choosing BPG and TDS as co-managers is part of HB&T's goal to "position the funds for continued growth." The SMART Funds, HB&T says, are designed to end at the target-date in entirely safe asset classes, which differentiates them from most other target-date funds. The collective investment trust (CIT) structure and low cost underlying investments result in overall operating expenses that are dramatically lower than most other target-date strategies on the market, the firm says. The three firms will be hosting a free Webinar on October 27. Discussion topics will include SEC and DOL requirements, "to" versus "through" glide paths, open versus closed architecture, mutual fund versus collective trust, longevity risk, fees, and more. For more information about the free Webinar, log on to www.bpas.com or call 713-460-1000.