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first_imgIn the UK, the reduction was 2 percentage points. However, a slower rate than previously seen, given average equity allocations, fell by 27 percentage points over the last 10 years.A decrease in exposure to domestic equities continued as European funds diversify, and was matched with an increase to emerging markets.Almost half of the European funds now have allocations to these markets, a 13 percentage point increase from last year.The predicted shift of scheme fixed income allocations towards corporate bonds has also yet to materialise on a macro level.However, Mercer singled out Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden as markets where this was prominent.The UK’s shift to using index-linked instruments continued, with the proportion of fixed income assets matching inflation now 69%, up from 55% over the last two years.Overall, the funds allocated 13% to domestic equities, 21% to non-domestic and 52% to fixed income.Alternatives grew to 9% while property made up 3% of allocations. However, the impact of these asset classes varied significantly across the 14 countries.Swiss funds allocated 14% of assets to real estate, while Danish funds 20% to alternatives.In comparison, French schemes only allocated 1% to each and held 22% in domestic equities.Belgium still remained the country with the highest average allocation to equity, followed by Ireland and Sweden.Norway and Germany led the way in terms of fixed income, with schemes allocating more than 65% of assets.Within alternatives, 41% of the funds had allocations to real assets, such as core property and infrastructure, with an average allocation of 6%.Growth-orientated fixed income allocations were held by 27% of schemes and mainly consisted of emerging market debt and high yield.Almost a fifth (17%) held hedge fund allocations. However, Mercer reported no fund-of-funds searches for the second year running, as schemes tire of the double-layer fee approach and allocate directly.Mercer saw a 3 percentage point increase in the proportion of schemes conducting LDI strategies from last year, but stressed this was dominated by schemes larger than €500m.Only 12% of funds said they had not considered the strategy at any level, a figure that hit 29% last year.Mercer’s European director of strategic research, Phil Edwards, said that, despite the relatively small increase in LDI use, the management of risk remained a concern for trustees.“The complexity and governance challenges around LDI may have acted as a barrier for smaller schemes in the past,” he said.“Given the range of pooled and delegated LDI approaches now available, we expect to see the gap in take-up between large and small schemes reduce over time.” The proportion of European pension funds ruling out implementing liability-driven investment (LDI) strategies has plummeted over the last year as awareness increases, research shows.Mercer’s annual European asset allocation survey found increasing allocations to matching assets, typically used in derivative-based LDI strategies.Overall, the consultant’s research, conducted across 1,200 schemes in 14 European countries, found a return towards the alternative asset class, after seeing a fall in the year previous.It also reported a slowdown in the falling exposure to equity markets, with the average allocation only falling by 1% across Europe.last_img read more

first_img Celebrity socialite Kim Kardashian West says it boosted her energy level. Mad Men’s January Jones touts it as a cure for postpartum depression. But does eating one’s placenta after birth—an apparently growing practice around the globe—actually confer any health benefits? Not really, according to the first in-depth analyses of the practice. In two new studies, researchers conclude that new moms who consume their placentas experience no significant changes in their moods, energy levels, hormone levels, or in bonding with their new infant, when compared with moms ingesting a placebo. “It really does show that most of what’s going on, if not all, is a placebo effect,” says Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the State University of New York in Buffalo who has studied the practice—known as placentophagy—in other animals for more than 40 years.Humans aren’t the only species that eat their placentas. In fact, nearly all mammals do. In rats, placentophagy spurs moms to start taking care of their pups and relieves birthing pain; both amniotic fluid and placentas contain a factor that acts as a morphine-related analgesic. But whether placentophagy confers such benefits in humans has been unclear. What is clear is that the practice is gaining in popularity. Before the 1970s, it was used occasionally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a host of ailments in men and women. Now, there are cookbooks that offer guidelines for the storage and preparation of placenta-based smoothies and meals. Most contemporary consumers first steam and dehydrate the placenta before pulverizing it and fashioning it into a vitaminlike pill. Moms, should you eat your placentas? Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Roni DenglerDec. 1, 2017 , 8:00 AM Email A new study finds consuming your placenta as a dehydrated pill after childbirth does not provide touted health benefits.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Megan May/Missourian/AP To find out whether placentophagy actually does anything for people, Sharon Young, a medical anthropologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and her team enlisted 27 healthy, pregnant adults who had decided they wanted to consume their placenta before enrolling in the study. The women met with researchers four times between their 36th week of pregnancy and the third week after childbirth. During the meetings, the women provided saliva samples for hormone analysis and completed a battery of questionnaires. In the studies, some took pills containing their own placentas daily for 3 weeks, while others got pills filled with a placebo supplement made from beef or vegetarian mock beef. The women weren’t told which pill they took.The placenta pills made no difference to women’s hormone levels—which could potentially influence everything from a mom’s energy to her mood, the researchers report this week in Women and Birth. And indeed, the placenta pills had no significant overall impact on fatigue and postpartum depression, they conclude in a second paper in the same issue of the journal.The only real correlations between groups had nothing to do with placentophagy: Depression, anxiety, and stress were linked to fatigue, as were poor sleep quality, low social support from family and friends, and decreased marital satisfaction.Still, Young and her colleagues acknowledge a number of caveats. Their sample size was small and self-selected, which could mask differences between treatment and control groups. And Kristal says he would have liked to have seen an additional group that did not receive the placenta or placebo supplement. He also says the team didn’t look at other potential beneficial effects of placentophagy—such as pain relief—which could be the basis for future studies.So should mothers eat their placentas? Melissa Cheyney, a midwife and medical anthropologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis, doesn’t see the harm, especially if moms feel it helps them. “As long as women are acquiring it safely, it doesn’t matter.”last_img read more