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The future returns for property required by UK pension funds

By Stephen L. Lee, Peter J. Byrne and N. S. French


In the 1970s Real Estate represented over 17% of the average pension funds total assets. Today such funds hold less than 4%, a figure not seen since the 1960s. This reduction in Real Estate holdings is mainly attributable to the relatively poor performance of Real Estate against other asset classes since the 1980s. Whether pension funds will increase their holding at any point in the future depends therefore on the expected return of Real Estate by comparison with that required to justify a particular asset holding. Using the technique of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT), this paper assesses the required return that Real Estate would have to offer to justify a 15% holding in a mixed asset portfolio. This figure and the risk/return characteristics of the major asset classes is taken from survey data. Under a number of scenarios it is found that Real Estate can play a part in a mixed asset portfolio at the 15% level. In some cases however, the expected returns of Real Estate are not sufficient to justify a weight of 15% in this asset

Publisher: University of Reading
Year: 1995
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