New study finds:
ADDING REAL ESTATE EXPOSURE TO DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS ENHANCED THE RISK-RETURN PROFILE, DAMPENED VOLATILITY & IMPROVED OUTCOMES FOR PARTICIPANTS
A 10 percent mix of listed and unlisted real estate would have improved retirement outcomes for plan participants and provided a smoother path to success
NEW YORK, (November 4, 2014)– An allocation of as little as 10 percent to a mix of listed and unlisted real estate enhanced the risk-return profile of a defined contribution (DC) plan portfolio, improving the probability of successfully achieving desired retirement outcomes, according to the results of a new study released today by the Defined Contribution Real Estate Council (DCREC).
The study, A Path to Better Retirement Outcomes: Allocating Real Estate Assets to Retirement Portfolios, was conducted by Michael E. Drew, PhD, a Professor of Finance at the Griffith Business School at Griffith University, Adam N. Walk, PhD, also from the Griffith Business School, and Jason M. West from Bond University.
The study determined that the sequence of portfolio returns plays a critical role in the ability of DC plan participants to achieve their retirement savings goals, and this is particularly important late in the accumulation phase and early in the transition to retirement. Further, a portfolio strategy that includes real estate could deliver a smoother transition, improving long-term participant outcomes, and helping DC investors avoid adverse responses to temporary market setbacks example, switching out of risky assets and moving out of the market altogether after a significant downturn. This gradual transition increases the likelihood that participants will ‘stay the course’ and achieve their goals.
In the study covering the period from January 1976 to January 2014, the authors examined historical DC-style asset allocations, including target date and target risk funds, and added a 10 percent allocation to real estate for their research. The simulated portfolios ranged from 100 percent stocks to a 60/40 stock/bond blend, and included well-known established target date and target risk glidepaths. The real estate allocation was made up of a 50/50 blend of listed and unlisted real estate. For the portfolio simulations including a real estate allocation, the exposure to real estate was taken equally from the stock and bond portions of the portfolio.
Based on these simulations, the authors concluded that the portfolios:
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