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Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds

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Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds

View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

Despite economic uncertainty, pension funds saw relatively strong growth in 2021. The world’s 100 biggest pension funds are worth over $17 trillion in total, an increase of 8.5% over the previous year.

This graphic uses data from the Thinking Ahead Institute to rank the world’s biggest pension funds, and where they are located.

What is a Pension Fund?

A pension fund is a fund that is designed to provide retirement income. This ranking covers four different types:

  • Sovereign funds: Funds controlled directly by the state. This ranking only includes sovereign funds that are established by national authorities.
  • Public sector funds: Funds that cover public sector workers, such as government employees and teachers, in provincial or state sponsored plans.
  • Private independent funds: Funds controlled by private sector organizations that are authorized to manage pension plans from different employers.
  • Corporate funds: Funds that cover workers in company sponsored pension plans.

Among the largest funds, public sector funds are the most common.

The Largest Pension Funds, Ranked

Here are the top 100 pension funds, organized from largest to smallest.

RankFundMarketTotal Assets
1Government Pension Investment Fund 🇯🇵 Japan$1.7T
2Government Pension Fund 🇳🇴 Norway$1.4T
3National Pension 🇰🇷 South Korea$798.0B
4Federal Retirement Thrift 🇺🇸 U.S.$774.2B
5ABP 🇳🇱 Netherlands$630.4B
6California Public Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$496.8B
7Canada Pension 🇨🇦 Canada$426.7B
8National Social Security 🇨🇳 China$406.8B
9Central Provident Fund 🇸🇬 Singapore$375.0B
10PFZW 🇳🇱 Netherlands$315.5B
11California State Teachers 🇺🇸 U.S.$313.9B
12New York State Common 🇺🇸 U.S.$267.8B
13New York City Retirement 🇺🇸 U.S.$266.7B
14Local Government Officials 🇯🇵 Japan$248.6B
15Employees Provident Fund 🇲🇾 Malaysia$242.6B
16Florida State Board 🇺🇸 U.S.$213.8B
17Texas Teachers 🇺🇸 U.S.$196.7B
18Ontario Teachers 🇨🇦 Canada$191.1B
19National Wealth Fund 🇷🇺 Russia$180.7B
20AustralianSuper 🇦🇺 Australia$169.1B
21Labor Pension Fund 🇹🇼 Taiwan$168.9B
22Washington State Board 🇺🇸 U.S.$161.5B
23Public Institute for Social Security 🇰🇼 Kuwait$160.0B
24ATP 🇩🇰 Denmark$155.4B
25Wisconsin Investment Board 🇺🇸 U.S.$147.9B
26Future Fund 🇦🇺 Australia$147.9B
27Boeing 🇺🇸 U.S.$147.2B
28Employees’ Provident 🇮🇳 India$145.0B
29New York State Teachers 🇺🇸 U.S.$144.4B
30North Carolina 🇺🇸 U.S.$137.1B
31Alecta 🇸🇪 Sweden$136.7B
32GEPF 🇿🇦 South Africa$129.1B
33California University 🇺🇸 U.S.$125.3B
34Bayerische Versorgungskammer 🇩🇪 Germany$122.0B
35Ohio Public Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$121.6B
36AT&T 🇺🇸 U.S.$119.5B
37Public Service Pension Plan 🇨🇦 Canada$117.9B
38National Federation of Mutual Aid 🇯🇵 Japan$117.1B
39Metaal/tech. Bedrijven 🇳🇱 Netherlands$115.8B
40IBM 🇺🇸 U.S.$115.4B
41Universities Superannuation 🇬🇧 UK$111.2B
42Virginia Retirement 🇺🇸 U.S.$110.0B
43Pension Fund Association 🇯🇵 Japan$109.8B
44Raytheon Technologies 🇺🇸 U.S.$108.9B
45Michigan Retirement 🇺🇸 U.S.$108.0B
46Aware Super 🇦🇺 Australia$107.5B
47New Jersey 🇺🇸 U.S.$104.5B
48Minnesota State Board 🇺🇸 U.S.$102.9B
49PFA Pension 🇩🇰 Denmark$102.7B
50Kaiser 🇺🇸 U.S.$101.0B
51Georgia Teachers 🇺🇸 U.S.$100.9B
52Oregon Public Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$100.4B
53Massachusetts PRIM 🇺🇸 U.S.$98.5B
54Qsuper 🇦🇺 Australia$96.5B
55General Motors 🇺🇸 U.S.$96.1B
56Ontario Municipal Employees 🇨🇦 Canada$95.7B
57Ohio State Teachers 🇺🇸 U.S.$95.1B
58AP Fonden 7 🇸🇪 Sweden$94.4B
59Healthcare of Ontario 🇨🇦 Canada$90.5B
60General Electric 🇺🇸 U.S.$90.5B
61Employees’ Pension Fund 🇮🇳 India$89.5B
62Bouwnijverheid 🇳🇱 Netherlands$88.5B
63UPS 🇺🇸 U.S.$86.8B
64United Nations Joint Staff 🇺🇸 U.S.$86.2B
65Lockheed Martin 🇺🇸 U.S.$85.7B
66Quebec Pension 🇨🇦 Canada$81.4B
67National Public Service 🇯🇵 Japan$79.9B
68Tennessee Consolidated 🇺🇸 U.S.$79.0B
69Royal Bank of Scotland Group 🇬🇧 UK$78.3B
70Bank of America 🇺🇸 U.S.$76.3B
71BT Group 🇬🇧 UK$74.3B
72Keva 🇫🇮 Finland$73.3B
73Ford 🇺🇸 U.S.$72.8B
74PME 🇳🇱 Netherlands$72.7B
75Los Angeles County Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$72.7B
76Quebec Government & Public 🇨🇦 Canada$72.4B
77UniSuper 🇦🇺 Australia$72.1B
78Northrop Grumman 🇺🇸 U.S.$72.0B
79Pennsylvania School Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$70.4B
80Lloyds Banking Group 🇬🇧 UK$69.7B
81Ilmarinen 🇫🇮 Finland$69.1B
82Colorado Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$68.6B
83Maryland State Retirement 🇺🇸 U.S.$68.5B
84AMF Pension 🇸🇪 Sweden$67.3B
85Varma 🇫🇮 Finland$67.1B
86Wells Fargo 🇺🇸 U.S.$66.0B
87Sunsuper 🇦🇺 Australia$66.0B
88Verizon 🇺🇸 U.S.$64.1B
89Illinois Teachers 🇺🇸 U.S.$64.0B
90J.P. Morgan Chase 🇺🇸 U.S.$62.8B
91Electricity Supply Pension 🇬🇧 UK$62.5B
92FedEx 🇺🇸 U.S.$60.7B
93Nevada Public Employees 🇺🇸 U.S.$58.8B
94B.C. Municipal 🇨🇦 Canada$58.7B
95AP Fonden 4 🇸🇪 Sweden$57.7B
96Missouri Schools & Education 🇺🇸 U.S.$57.0B
97AP Fonden 3 🇸🇪 Sweden$55.9B
98Social Insurance Funds 🇻🇳 Vietnam$55.7B
99Organization for Workers 🇯🇵 Japan$55.6B
100Illinois Municipal 🇺🇸 U.S.$54.9B

U.S. fund data are as of Sep. 30, 2021, and non-U.S. fund data are as of Dec. 31, 2021. There are some exceptions as noted in the graphic footnotes.

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) is the largest in the ranking for the 21st year in a row. For a time, the fund was the largest holder of domestic stocks in Japan, though the Bank of Japan has since taken that title. Given its enormous size, investors closely follow the GPIF’s actions. For instance, the fund made headlines for deciding to start investing in startups, because the move could entice other pensions to make similar investments.

America is home to 47 funds on the list, including the largest public sector fund: the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), overseen by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. Because of its large financial influence, both political parties have been accused of using it as a political tool. Democrats have pushed to divest assets in fossil fuel companies, while Republicans have proposed blocking investment in Chinese-owned companies.

Russia’s National Wealth Fund comes in at number 19 on the list. The fund is designed to support the public pension system and help balance the budget as needed. With Russia’s economy facing difficulties amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the government has also used it as a rainy day fund. For instance, Russia has set aside $23 billion from the fund to replace foreign aircraft with domestic models, because Western sanctions have made it difficult to source replacement parts for foreign planes.

The Future of Pension Funds

The biggest pension funds can have a large influence in the market because of their size. Of course, they are also responsible for providing retirement income to millions of people. Pension funds face a variety of challenges in order to reach their goals:

  • Geopolitical conflict creates volatility and uncertainty
  • High inflation and low interest rates (relative to long-term averages) limit return potential
  • Aging populations mean more withdrawals and less fund contributions

Some pension funds are turning to alternative assets, such as private equity, in pursuit of more diversification and higher returns. Of course, these investments can also carry more risk.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, number 18 on the list, invested $95 million in the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The plan made the investment through its venture growth platform, to “gain small-scale exposure to an emerging area in the financial technology sector.”

In this case, the investment’s failure is expected to have a minimal impact given it only made up 0.05% of the plan’s net assets. However, it does highlight the challenges pension funds face to generate sufficient returns in a variety of macroeconomic environments.

The post Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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