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Pension Funds Pile on Risk Just to Get a Reasonable Return

MAY 31, 2016

What it means to be a successful investor in 2016 can be summed up in four words: bigger gambles, lower returns.

Thanks to rock-bottom interest rates in the U.S., negative rates in other parts of the world, and lackluster growth, investors are becoming increasingly creative—and embracing increasing risk—to bolster their performances.

To even come close these days to what is considered a reasonably strong return of 7.5%, pension funds and other large endowments are reaching ever further into riskier investments: adding big dollops of global stocks, real estate and private-equity investments to the once-standard investment of high-grade bonds. Two decades ago, it was possible to make that kind of return just by buying and holding investment-grade bonds, according to new research.

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