BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Do you have an employer-sponsored pension account paying for your retirement? Chances are that the answer is "no." Pensions have gone the way of the dodo in recent years, as U.S. employers looked to cut costs by cutting retirement benefits.
Indeed, only a small minority of jobs -- such as airline employees and state and Federal workers -- still offer pensions as part of the perks. And as we've seen in recent years, those pensions can go under the knife if an airline or automaker goes belly up.
But even if you don't have a pension, pension funds could help to fund your retirement. And you don't risk getting your nest egg smashed if the plan sponsor goes belly up.
How? Despite the decline of the pension plan, the ones that remain still manage a huge amount of money. Today, pensions big enough to report to the SEC managed almost $400 billion of combined cash. That's a big number, especially when you consider that it's made up of fewer than 40 individual pension funds.
With those kinds of cash concentrations, pension funds employ talented investment teams with serious institutional investing resources. And by taking a look at the investments pensions are piling up for their own retirees, we can take advantage of some of that research muscle for ourselves. To do that, we've got to crack some 13F filings.
Institutional investors with more than $100 million in assets are required to file a 13F, a form that breaks down their stock positions for public consumption. From hedge funds to mutual funds to insurance companies, any professional investors who manage more than that $100 million watermark are required to file a 13F. That includes pension funds.
By comparing one quarter's filing to another, we can see how any single manager is moving their portfolio around -- and which investments are faring the best for them. More important, we can figure out which names pension fund investors are buying as a group.
Today, we'll focus on pension funds' five favorite stocks for the most recent quarter.