## Working paper series / Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften : Finance & Accounting

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- Deutschland (10)
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- 178
- The victory of hope over Angst? : Funding, asset allocation, and risk-taking in german public sector pension reform (2007)
- Public employee pension systems throughout the developed world have traditionally been of the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) defined benefit (DB) variety, where pensioner payments are financed by taxes (contributions) levied on the working generation. But as the number of retirees rises relative to the working-age group, such systems have begun to face financial distress. This trend has been exacerbated in many countries, among them Germany, by high unemployment rates producing further deterioration of the contribution base. In the long run, public sector pension benefits will have to be cut or contributions increased, if the systems are to be maintained. An alternative path sometimes offered to ease the crunch of paying for public employee pensions is to move toward funding: here, plan assets are gradually built up, invested, and enhanced returns devoted to partly defray civil servants’ pension costs. In this study, we evaluate the impact of introducing partial prefunding, paired with a strategic investment policy for the German federal state of Hesse. The analysis assesses the impact of introducing a supplementary tax-sponsored pension fund whose contributions are invested in the capital market and used to relieve the state budget from (some) pension payments. Our model determines the expectation and the Conditional Value-at-Risk of economic pension costs using a stochastic simulation process for pension plan assets. This approach simultaneously determines the optimal contribution rate and asset allocation that controls the expected economic costs of providing the promised pensions, while at the same time controlling investment risk. Specifically, we offer answers to the following questions: 1. How can the plan be designed to control cash-flow shortfall risk, so as to mitigate the potential burden borne by future generations of taxpayers? 2. What is the optimal asset allocation for this fund as it is built up, to generate a maximum return while simultaneously restricting capital market and liability risk? 3. What are reasonable combinations of annual contribution rates and asset allocation to a state-managed pension fund, which will limit costs of providing promised public sector pensions? We anticipate that this research will interest several sorts of policymaker groups. First, focusing on the German case, the state and Federal governments should find it relevant, as these entities face considerable public sector pension liabilities. Second, our findings will also be of interest to other European countries, as most have substantial underfunded defined benefit plans for civil servants. In what follows, we first offer a brief description of the structure of civil servant pensions in Germany, focusing on their benefit formulas, their financing, and the resulting current as well as future plan obligations for taxpayers. Next, we turn to an analysis of the actuarial status of the Hesse civil servants’ pension plan and evaluate how much would have to be contributed to fund this plan in a nonstochastic context. Subsequently we evaluate the asset-liability and decision-making process from the viewpoint of the plan sponsor, to determine sensible plan asset allocation behavior. A final section summarizes findings and implications.

- 067
- International equity portfolios and currency hedging : the viewpoint of German and Hungarian investors (2001)
- In this paper we study the benefits derived from international diversification of stock portfolios from German and Hungarian point of view. In contrast to the German capital market, which is one of the largest in the world, the Hungarian Stock Exchange is an emerging market. The Hungarian stock market is highly volatile, high returns are often accompanied by extremely large risk. Therefore, there is a good potential for Hungarian investors to realize substantial benefits in terms of risk reduction by creating multi-currency portfolios. The paper gives evidence on the above me ntioned benefits for both countries by examining the performance of several ex ante portfolio strategies. In order to control the currency risk, different types of hedging approaches are implemented.

- 169
- Asset meltdown : fact or fiction? (2006)
- This paper analyzes the relation between demographic structure and real asset returns on treasury bills, bonds and stocks for the G7-countries (United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Germany). A macroeconomic multifactor model is used to examine a variety of different demographic factors from 1951 to 2002. There was no robust relationship found between shocks in demographic variables and asset returns in the framework of these models, which suggests that Asset Meltdown is rather fiction than fact.

- 176
- How unobservable bond positions in retirement accounts affect asset allocation (2007)
- Many tax-codes around the world allow for special taxable treatment of savings in retirement accounts. In particular, profits in retirement accounts are usually tax exempt which allow investors to increase an asset’s return by holding it in such a retirement account. While the existing literature on asset location shows that risk-free bonds are usually the preferred asset to hold in a retirement account, we explain how the tax exemption of profits in retirement accounts affects private investors’ asset allocation. We show that total final wealth can be decomposed into what the investor would have earned in a taxable account and what is due to the tax exemption of profits in the retirement account. The tax exemption of profits can thus be considered a tax-gift which is similar to an implicit bond holding. As this tax-gift’s impact on total final wealth decreases over time, so does the investor’s equity exposure.

- 170
- Proof that it is not always optimal to locate bonds in a tax-deferred account (2006)
- The tax codes in many countries allow for special tax advantages for investments in special retirement plans. Probably the most important advantage to these plans is that profits usually remain untaxed. This paper deals with the question, which assets are preferable in a taxdeferred account (TDA). Contrary to the conventional wisdom that one should prefer bonds in the TDA, it is shown that especially in early years, stocks can be the preferred asset to hold in the TDA for an investor maximizing final wealth, given a certain asset allocation. The higher the performance of stocks compared to bonds, the higher the tax burden put on stocks compared to bonds. Simultaneously, the longer the remaining investment horizon, the larger the relative outperformance of the optimal asset location strategy compared to the myopic strategy of locating bonds in the TDA. An algorithm is provided to determine the investment strategy that maximizes (expected) funds at the end of a given investment horizon when there is an analytical solution.

- 174
- Optimal gradual annuitization : quantifying the costs of switching to annuities (2007)
- We compute the optimal dynamic asset allocation policy for a retiree with Epstein-Zin utility. The retiree can decide how much he consumes and how much he invests in stocks, bonds, and annuities. Pricing the annuities we account for asymmetric mortality beliefs and administration expenses. We show that the retiree does not purchase annuities only once but rather several times during retirement (gradual annuitization). We analyze the case in which the retiree is restricted to buy annuities only once and has to perform a (complete or partial) switching strategy. This restriction reduces both the utility and the demand for annuities.

- 94
- Portfolio choice and estimation risk : a comparison of Bayesian approaches to resampled efficiency (2002)
- Estimation risk is known to have a huge impact on mean/variance (MV) optimized portfolios, which is one of the primary reasons to make standard Markowitz optimization unfeasible in practice. Several approaches to incorporate estimation risk into portfolio selection are suggested in the earlier literature. These papers regularly discuss heuristic approaches (e.g., placing restrictions on portfolio weights) and Bayesian estimators. Among the Bayesian class of estimators, we will focus in this paper on the Bayes/Stein estimator developed by Jorion (1985, 1986), which is probably the most popular estimator. We will show that optimal portfolios based on the Bayes/Stein estimator correspond to portfolios on the original mean-variance efficient frontier with a higher risk aversion. We quantify this increase in risk aversion. Furthermore, we review a relatively new approach introduced by Michaud (1998), resampling efficiency. Michaud argues that the limitations of MV efficiency in practice generally derive from a lack of statistical understanding of MV optimization. He advocates a statistical view of MV optimization that leads to new procedures that can reduce estimation risk. Resampling efficiency has been contrasted to standard Markowitz portfolios until now, but not to other approaches which explicitly incorporate estimation risk. This paper attempts to fill this gap. Optimal portfolios based on the Bayes/Stein estimator and resampling efficiency are compared in an empirical out-of-sample study in terms of their Sharpe ratio and in terms of stochastic dominance.

- 92
- How much foreign stocks? : classical versus Bayesian approaches to asset allocation (2003)
- The classical approaches to asset allocation give very different conclusions about how much foreign stocks a US investor should hold. US investors should either allocate a large portion of about 40% to foreign stocks (which is the result of mean/variance optimization and the international CAPM) or they should hold no foreign stocks at all (which is the conclusion of the domestic CAPM and mean/variance spanning tests). There is no way in between. The idea of the Bayesian approach discussed in this article is to shrink the mean/variance efficient portfolio towards the market portfolio. The shrinkage effect is determined by the investor's prior belief in the efficiency of the market portfolio and by the degree of violation of the CAPM in the sample. Interestingly, this Bayesian approach leads to the same implications for asset allocation as the mean-variance/tracking error criterion. In both cases, the optimal portfolio is a combination of the market portfolio and the mean/variance efficient portfolio with the highest Sharpe ratio. Applying both approaches to the subject of international diversification, we find that a substantial home bias is only justified when a US investor has a strong belief in the global mean/variance efficiency of the US market portfolio and when he has a high regret aversion of falling behind the US market portfolio. We also find that the current level of home bias can be justified whenever-regret aversion is significantly higher than risk aversion. Finally, we compare the Bayesian approach of shrinking the mean/variance efficient portfolio towards the market portfolio to another Bayesian approach which shrinks the mean/variance efficient portfolio towards the minimum-variance portfolio. An empirical out-of-sample study shows that both Bayesian approaches lead to a clearly superior performance compared to the classical mean/variance efficient portfolio.

- 59
- Zur Quantifizierung der Risikoprämien deutscher Versicherungsaktien im Kontext eines Multifaktorenmodells (2000)
- Vorgestellt wird eine empirische Studie, welche den Zusammenhang zwischen Rendite und Risiko für ein Sample deutscher Versicherungsaktien im Zeitraum 1975-1998 untersucht. Als Methode wurde ein Multifaktorenmodell mit makroökonomischen Faktoren verwendet. Je nach Untersuchungszeitraum beläuft sich der Anteil der erklärten Varianz auf 9,29% bis 13,62%. Es konnte eine signifikanter negativer Einfluß zwischen der Veränderung des allgemeinen Zinsniveaus und den Risikoprämien von Versicherungsaktien identifiziert werden. Weiterhin ist Wechselkurses der DM zum US-Dollar signifikant.

- 83
- Integrated asset liability modelling for property casuality insurance : a portfolio theoretical approach (2001)
- In this paper we have developed a financial model of the non-life insurer to provide assistance for the management of the insurance company in making decisions on product, investment and reinsurance mix. The model is based on portfolio theory and recognizes the stochastic nature of and the interaction between the underwriting and investment income of the insurance business. In the context of an empirical application we illustrate howa portfolio optimisation approach can be used for asset-liability management.