The world’s largest pension funds – 2019

Top 20 pension funds’ AUM declines for first time in seven years


  • Assets under management of the world’s largest pension funds total US$18.0 trillion in 2018.
  • Funds decreased their value by 0.4% in 2018, compared to an increase of 15.1% in 2017.
PI 300 global breakdown
Source: Thinking Ahead Institute. Click to enlarge

Source: Thinking Ahead Institute. Click to enlarge

Highlights continued

  • The top 20 funds fell by 1.6%, equating to 40.7% of total AUM, down from 41.1% in 2017.
  • North America remains the largest region in terms of AUM, accounting for 45.32% of all assets in the research.
  • Europe and Asia-Pacific AUM in the ranking represents 24.9% and 26.2% respectively.
  • North America experienced the largest annualized growth during the period 2013-2018 (5.8%).
  • Europe and Asia-Pacific showed annualised growth rates of 0.5% and 5.2% respectively over the same period.
  • The US accounts for 141 of the funds in the ranking. Since 2013, it has seen six of its funds drop out from the top 300, while 21 new funds joined the ranking.
  • Sovereign and public sector pension funds account for 68.5% of the total assets, with 145 funds in the top 300.
  • Defined benefit (DB) funds account for 64.7% of the total assets in the ranking. DB, Reserve funds and Hybrid* funds’ assets decreased by 0.2%, 9.5% and 4.6% respectively, compared to a 5.1% increase for defined contribution (DC) plans’ assets.
  • On average, the top 20 funds invested approximately 40.6% of their assets in equities, 37.4% in fixed income securities and 22% in alternatives and cash.
  • North American funds have predominantly invested in equities while there was a higher preference for fixed income in Asia-Pacific funds.

*Note: Hybrid funds are plans that incorporate both DB and DC components. Reserve funds are set aside by a national government to guarantee pension payments in the future.  By definition, these funds are characterized by no explicit liabilities and are neither DB or DC.