Author: Jenna Ross

Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


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The world's 100 largest pension funds, represented as circles sized according to their total assets. The Government Pension Investment Fund in Japan is the biggest at $1.7 trillion in assets.

Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds

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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 (Read more...)

How Sustainability Indices Can Support the Global ESG Push


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by ICE

How Sustainability Indices Can Support the Global ESG Push

The rise of sustainable investing has been fueled by a growing awareness of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. 

Alongside this, many investors want to have a positive impact. The issuance of impact bonds—where proceeds are used for a specific social or green cause—rose by 58% from 2020 to 2021.

Sustainability indices play a key role in the market, helping investors and portfolio managers benchmark performance and create new ESG investment products.

In this graphic from ICE, the last in a three-part series on the ESG toolkit, we explore the different types of ICE Sustainability Indices.

1. Green, Social, and Sustainable Bond Indices

What they do: Track bonds that promote climate change mitigation or that aim for positive social outcomes, such as reduced poverty levels. 

Investors can also access sub-indices that track debt in specific currencies, or that cater to different risk appetites via investment grade or high yield bonds.

The face value of many of these sustainability indices has grown considerably in recent years.

IndexDec 2018Dec 2020Jul 2022
ICE Green, Social,
and Sustainability
Bond Index
$272B$972B$1.7T
ICE BofA Green
Bond Index
$240B$572B$980B
ICE Sustainable
Bond Index
$23B$233B$421B
ICE Social
Bond Index
$11B$167B$333B
ICE Global High Yield
Green, Social &
Sustainable
Bond Index
(Read more...)

Comparing the Speed of U.S. Interest Rate Hikes (1988-2022)


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


Line chart comparing the speed of interest rate hikes over cycles since 1988. The 2022 cycle is the fastest with the effective federal funds rate rising 2.36 p.p. in six months

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Comparing the Speed of U.S. Interest Rate Hikes

As U.S. inflation remains at multi-decade highs, the Federal Reserve has been aggressive with its interest rate hikes. In fact, rates have risen more than two percentage points in just six months.

In this graphic—which was inspired by a chart from Chartr—we compare the speed and severity of the current interest rate hikes to other periods of monetary tightening over the past 35 years.

Measuring Periods of Interest Rate Hikes

We used the effective federal funds rate (EFFR), which measures the weighted average of the rates that banks use to lend to each other overnight. It is determined by the market but influenced by the Fed’s target range. We considered the starting point for each cycle to be the EFFR during the month when the first rate hike took place.

Here is the duration and severity of each interest rate hike cycle since 1988.

Time PeriodDuration 
(Months)
Total Change in EFFR
(Percentage Points)
Mar 1988 - May 198914 3.23
Feb 1994 - Feb 1995 (Read more...)

3 Ways to Reduce Manufacturing’s Skills and Labor Shortage in Canada


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

3 Ways to Reduce the Manufacturing Labor Shortage in Canada

The skills and labor shortage in Canadian manufacturing has been a problem for some time, but it has recently gotten much worse. In 2021, 82% of manufacturers said they faced immediate shortages, up from 39% in 2016.

This graphic from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) highlights the extent of the skills and labor shortage, and the steps that can be taken to address it.

A Closer Look At the Labor Shortage

There are more job vacancies than job seekers in manufacturing, for the first time since this data started being collected in 2015.

 Job VacanciesJob Seekers
2015 Q137,42078,400
2016 Q129,52085,200
2017 Q136,25579,700
2018 Q144,23061,900
2019 Q150,53561,500
2020 Q145,16581,700
2021 Q156,690120,900
2022 Q187,43559,700

Labor shortages are most common in general labor and skilled production positions, such as welders and machinists. These shortages persist despite manufacturing jobs paying an average hourly wage of $23.45, well above the average minimum wage in Canada of $14.12.

Manufacturers’ bottom lines are being squeezed by these shortages: 42% have lost opportunities or paid penalties due to a lack of workers.

What can the government and manufacturers do to address the skills (Read more...)

Interest Rate Hikes vs. Inflation Rate, by Country


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


graphic comparing interest rate hikes with inflation in various countries

Interest Rate Hikes vs. Inflation Rate, by Country

Imagine today’s high inflation like a car speeding down a hill. In order to slow it down, you need to hit the brakes. In this case, the “brakes” are interest rate hikes intended to slow spending. However, some central banks are hitting the brakes faster than others.

This graphic uses data from central banks and government websites to show how policy interest rates and inflation rates have changed since the start of the year. It was inspired by a chart created by Macrobond.

How Do Interest Rate Hikes Combat Inflation?

To understand how interest rates influence inflation, we need to understand how inflation works. Inflation is the result of too much money chasing too few goods. Over the last several months, this has occurred amid a surge in demand and supply chain disruptions worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In an effort to combat inflation, central banks will raise their policy rate. This is the rate they charge commercial banks for loans or pay commercial banks for deposits. Commercial banks pass on a portion of these higher rates to their customers, which reduces the purchasing power of businesses and consumers. For example, it becomes more expensive to borrow money for a house or car.

Ultimately, interest rate hikes act to slow spending and encourage saving. This motivates companies to increase prices at a slower rate, or lower prices, to stimulate demand.

Rising Interest Rates and Inflation

With inflation rates hitting (Read more...)

Mapped: Personal Finance Education Requirements, by State


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


U.S. map with states coloured according to the percentage of students guaranteed to receive personal finance education

The Percentage of Students Receiving Personal Finance Education

When you graduated from high school, did you know how to create a budget? Did you have an understanding of what stocks and bonds were? Did you know how to do your own taxes?

For many Americans, the answer to these questions is probably a “no”. Only 22.7% of U.S. high school students are guaranteed to receive a personal finance education. While this is up from 16.4% in 2018, this still represents a small fraction of students.

This graphic uses data from Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) to show the percentage of high school students required to take a personal finance course by state.

A Closer Look at State-level Personal Finance Education

A standalone personal finance course was defined as a course that was at least one semester, which is equivalent to 60 consecutive instructional hours. Here’s the percentage of students in each state who have a required (not optional) personal finance course.

State/Territory% of Students Required to Take Personal Finance Course
Mississippi100.0%
Missouri100.0%
Virginia100.0%
Tennessee99.7%
Alabama99.6%
Utah99.6%
Iowa91.3%
North Carolina89.2%
Oklahoma47.1%
New Jersey43.0%
Nebraska42.8%
Kansas40.8%
Wyoming38.3%
Arkansas34.6%
Wisconsin33.5%
South Dakota27.1%
Ohio23.5%
Pennsylvania16.2%
Maine15.6%
Rhode Island14.8%
Connecticut14.7%
Illinois13.9%
Maryland12.5%
North Dakota12.2%
Vermont12.1%
Nevada11.0%
Indiana10.9%
Oregon7.5%
Minnesota6.9%
Montana6.9%
New Hampshire6.0%
Kentucky5.5%
Colorado5.4%
Delaware5.0%
Massachusetts5.0%
West Virginia3.2%
(Read more...)

Mapped: The World’s Largest Economies, Sized by GDP (1970-2020)


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


How to Use: The below slideshow will animate automatically. To pause, move your cursor on the image. Arrows on left/right navigate.

World’s Largest Economies 1970

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Visualizing The World’s Largest Economies (1970-2020)

Global GDP has grown massively over the last 50 years, but not all countries experienced this economic growth equally.

In 1970, the world’s nominal GDP was just $3.4 trillion. Fast forward a few decades and it had reached $85.3 trillion by 2020. And thanks to shifting dynamics, such as industrialization and the rise and fall of political regimes, the world’s largest economies driving this global growth have changed over time.

This slideshow using graphics from Ruben Berge Mathisen show the distribution of global GDP among countries in 1970, 1995, and 2020.

Methodology

Using data from the United Nations, Mathisen collected nominal GDP in U.S. dollars for each country. He then determined each country’s GDP as a share of global GDP and sized each graphic’s bubbles accordingly.

The bubbles were placed according to country latitude and longitude coordinates, but Mathisen programmed the bubbles so that they wouldn’t overlap with each other. For this reason, some countries are slightly displaced from their exact locations on a map.

1970: USSR as a Major Player

In 1970, the U.S. accounted for the largest share of global GDP, making up nearly one-third of the world economy. The table below shows the top 10 economies in 1970.

RankCountryGDP (1970)Share of Global GDP
#1?? United States (Read more...)

Mapped: Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population

Many people move countries for work, study, or family. However, they may also be displaced by climate change, conflict, or economic instability.

There were 272 million immigrants in 2020, amounting to 3.5% of the global population. Where do they end up?

This interactive map from Our World in Data highlights immigration by country, as a percentage of the total population, using data from the United Nations (UN) Populations Division.

What Is an Immigrant?

The UN defines an immigrant as someone who has been living in a country other than their country of birth for one year or longer. In addition to new citizens or residents, a variety of people fit under this definition:

  • Foreign workers
  • International students
  • Refugees

The UN also includes estimates of unauthorized immigrants living in various countries. On the flip side, tourists, temporary workers, and overseas military personnel are typically not included.

Immigration by Country Over Time

With this definition in mind, here’s a breakdown of immigration by country as a percentage of the nation’s population.

Country19902020Absolute ChangeRelative Change
Afghanistan0.47%0.37%-0.10 p.p.-20%
Albania2.01%1.70%-0.31 p.p.-16%
Algeria1.06%0.57%-0.49 p.p.-46%
American Samoa45.18%30.35%²-14.83 p.p.-33%
Andorra71.35%58.98%-12.37 p.p.-17%
Angola0.28%2.00%1.71 p.p.606%
Anguilla30.59%33.24%²2.66 p.p.9%
Antigua and Barbuda19.24%30.01%10.77 p.p.56%
Argentina5.06%5.05%>-0.01 p.p.>-1%
Armenia18.62%6.42%-12.20 p.p.-65%
Aruba (Read more...)

Seeing Red: Is the Heydey of Pandemic Stocks Over?


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


pandemic stocks

The Briefing

  • Global equities are in a downward spiral, and experienced their worst week in more than a year.
  • Worries about slowing post-COVID demand and rising rates fueled the selloff.
  • Pandemic stocks were some of the hardest hit, with Shopify and Netflix dropping 35.3% and 33.5% respectively.

Seeing Red: Is the Heydey of Pandemic Stocks Over?

The stock market, and the stocks that flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, are off to a rough start in 2022. If you’ve been watching your investment accounts, chances are you’ve been seeing a lot of red. Shaken by the uncertainty of a pandemic recovery and future interest rate hikes, investors have been selling off their stocks.

This market selloff—which occurs when investors sell a large volume of securities in a short period of time, leading to a rapid decline in price—has investors concerned. In fact, search interest for the term “selloff” recently reached peak interest of 100.

2022 market selloff

Which stocks were the hardest hit, and how much are their prices down so far this year?

The Lackluster Returns of Pandemic Stocks

Pandemic stocks and tech-centric companies have suffered the most. Here’s a closer look at the year-to-date price returns for select stocks.

CompanyYear-to-Date Price Return
Shopify-35.3%
Roblox-30.2%
Block-28.0%
Moderna-31.9%
Zoom-19.9%
Netflix-33.5%
Snapchat-31.1%
Peloton-23.1%
Coinbase-23.5%
DocuSign-26.0%
Amazon-16.3%
Robinhood-29.6%

Price returns are in U.S. dollars based on data from January 3, 2022 to January 21, 2022.

Netflix fueled the selloff after it (Read more...)

Net-Zero Emissions: The Steps Companies and Investors Can Consider


This post is by Jenna Ross from Visual Capitalist


Net-Zero emissions

The Steps to Net-Zero Emissions

To help prevent the worst effects of climate change, a growing number of companies are pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In fact, the percentage of companies declaring a net-zero target nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020.

With urgency building, how can companies and investors approach net-zero emissions? The above infographic from MSCI highlights the steps these two groups can take, from defining a strategy to reporting progress.

Net-Zero Emissions: A Clear Process

Setting a net-zero emissions target means reducing carbon emissions to the greatest extent possible, and compensating for the remaining unavoidable emissions via removal.

Companies and investors can take four broad steps to move toward their targets.

1. Define Strategy

To begin, companies can measure current emissions and identify priority areas where emissions can be reduced. For example, ABC chemical company determines that its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions far exceed those of its competitors. In response, ABC chemical company prioritizes reducing GHG emissions during material processing.

Similarly, wealth and asset managers can assess climate risks:

  • Risks of transitioning to a net-zero economy
  • Risks of extreme weather events

They can then map out a strategy to curb climate risk. For example, XYZ asset manager determines that 33% of its portfolio may be vulnerable to asset stranding or some level of transition risk. XYZ decides to lower its transition risk by aligning with a 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming scenario.

2. Set Target

With a strategy set, companies can pledge their net-zero (Read more...)