Commodities Are Still Attractive for Pension Funds, Gresham Says

Commodities are still attractive for pension funds on inflation concern, said Douglas Hepworth, director of research at New York-based Gresham Investment Management LLC. The company has about $15 billion in commodities under management, Hepworth said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“We haven’t seen many pension funds withdrawing from commodities. There was one large plan that decided it no longer wanted to participate in long-only commodities program, and they are moving toward long-short and risk-budgeting programs. But we haven’t seen people abandoning the asset class. There is a strong desire to get real assets.”

Gresham is focusing on a long diversified basket of commodities as an inflation protection and a long-short strategy, which becomes a diversifier at times of systemic crisis, Hepworth said.

“We are poised on a nice edge between inflationary growth and another crisis. The two are so evenly balanced, how can you bet on one without the other one? We are generally pretty defensive on everything right now.”

“People are thinking that inflation, although not immediate, is a lot closer than it was. Now commodities have become an inflation play with a diversification option. But should the world pick up it will become what they were -- a diversification play with an inflation option.”

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