Skip to main content
Login to access your documents and resources.
Welcome to Nuveen
Select your preferred site so we can tailor your experience.
Select Region...
  • Americas
  • Asia Pacific
  • Europe, Middle East, Africa
location select
Select Location...
  • Canada
  • Latin America
  • United States
  • Australia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Mainland China
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Other
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Middle East
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Other
location select
Institutional Investor
  • Institutional Investor
  • Individual Investor
  • Financial Professional
  • Global Cities REIT (GCREIT)
  • Green Capital
  • Private Capital Income Fund (PCAP)
location select
Abstract shapes and clouds



View interactive PDF

Divergent paths in an uncertain world

Exploring institutional investors’ different strategies to strengthen portfolios against the unknown

Institutional investors are responding to elevated macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty in a variety of ways. While some are choosing to stay the course, others are significantly reformulating their approaches to risk management, asset allocation and investment decision-making.

Our fourth-annual survey of 800 global institutional investors explores new insights into how investors are navigating these uncharted waters and focusing on building more resilient portfolios.

Click to view highlights from the survey.

Nuveen Institutional Investor Uncertainty Barometer indicating a heightened level of uncertainty
Nuveen Institutional Investor Uncertainty Barometer indicating a heightened level of uncertainty

Higher than normal uncertainty weighs on investors

Uncertainty is a normal and expected variable to manage, but today’s dramatically altered landscape is uncharted territory for many institutional investors. 

To measure uncertainty, we created the Nuveen Institutional Investor Uncertainty Barometer. We asked investors questions about their level of uncertainty across four key market drivers — geopolitics, capital markets, economic growth, and monetary and fiscal policy. We scored the answers from zero (significantly lower than normal uncertainty) to 100 (significantly higher than normal uncertainty) where 50 indicates an expected, normal level of uncertainty. The barometer reading is a weighted average of the scores. 

The current reading is 69, which is significantly above the normal uncertainty value of 50 on the barometer scale.


Measuring uncertainty with the Nuveen Institutional Investor Uncertainty Barometer
Chart: Measuring uncertainty with the Nuveen Institutional Investor Uncertainty Barometer
Planning to reduce equity exposure in 2024; only 28% plan to increase
Planning to reduce equity exposure in 2024; only 28% plan to increase

Leaning into duration and lightening up on equities

Half of investors plan to increase portfolio duration in 2024. For liability-driven investors, higher interest rates and the resultant improvements in funded statuses represent an opportunity to de-risk portfolios by adding duration.

More than half (55%) of investors think it is unlikely that public equity returns will be on a growth trajectory over the next year. Many investors are planning to decrease their equity exposures this year, a reversal of what investors reported heading into 2023. 


By next year we will be at the lowest level of equity risk [in our portfolio] in the last 20 years. It makes sense because you can earn higher all-in coupons within fixed income, with much lower volatility.” 

— U.S. public pension, head of investments


Directional portfolio changes over next 12 months

In the next 12 months, indicate the directional changes you will be making in your portfolio(s) in the following areas. (800 respondents)

Chart: Directional portfolio changes over next 12 months
7 in 10
Going above and beyond regulatory requirements on energy transition
7 in 10
Going above and beyond regulatory requirements on energy transition

Investors take divergent approaches to the energy transition

Most investors are focusing on the energy transition in some way. Only 7% don’t plan on addressing it, and another 6% are taking a contrarian approach by expanding their exposure to fossil fuel investments. The largest segment of investors (37%) are structuring their portfolios to reflect the current energy mix in the economy and keep pace with its changes. 

For the 88% who are getting behind the energy transition, it is clear that they are at different phases or taking different approaches to the shifts in supply and demand of natural resources, consumer demand, and flow of capital to lower carbon energy alternatives.


The headwind is definitely a lack of political consistency. We’ve got the technology, we’ve got the funding, we just need consistent political will to do it. And then, tailwinds are the fact that it’s never been cheaper. It’s never been more understood.” 

— U.K., insurance, senior investment team member


What is your current approach to the energy transition?

When considering the energy transition, please indicate which statement below best describes your organization’s current approach. (800 respondents)

Chart: What is your current approach to the energy transition?
About the survey
Nuveen and CoreData surveyed 800 institutions globally spanning North America (NORAM); Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia Pacific (APAC) in October and November 2023. Respondents were decision-makers at corporate pensions, public/governmental pensions, insurance companies, endowments and foundations, superannuation funds, sovereign wealth funds, and central banks. Survey respondents represented organizations with assets of more than $10B (53%) and less than $10B (47%), with a minimum asset level of $500 million. The survey has a margin of error of ± 3.5% at a 95% confidence level.

Do you want to stay up to date on Nuveen's latest research?

Stay informed by receiving the latest insights straight to your inbox.
Contact us
Our offices
London skyline
201 Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom
The views and opinions expressed are for informational and educational purposes only, as of the date of production/writing and may change without notice at any time based on numerous factors, such as market or other conditions, legal and regulatory developments, additional risks and uncertainties and may not come to pass. This material may contain “forward-looking” information that is not purely historical in nature. Such information may include, among other things, projections, forecasts, estimates of market returns, and proposed or expected portfolio composition. Any changes to assumptions that may have been made in preparing this material could have a material impact on the information presented herein by way of example.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk; loss of principle is possible.

All information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no representation or warranty as to the current accuracy, reliability or completeness of, nor liability for, decisions based on such information and it should not be relied on as such.

Risks and other important considerations

This material is presented for informational purposes only and may change in response to changing economic and market conditions. This material is not intended to be a recommendation or investment advice, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities, and is not provided in a fiduciary capacity. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Financial professionals should independently evaluate the risks associated with products or services and exercise independent judgment with respect to their clients. Certain products and services may not be available to all entities or persons. Past performance is not indicative
of future results.

Economic and market forecasts are subject to uncertainty and may change based on varying market conditions, political and economic developments. As an asset class, real assets are less developed, more illiquid, and less transparent compared to traditional asset classes. Investments will be subject to risks generally associated with the ownership of real estate-related assets and foreign investing, including changes in economic conditions, currency values, environmental risks, the cost of and ability to obtain insurance, and risks related to leasing of properties.

This information does not constitute investment research, as defined under MiFID.

Responsible investing incorporates Environmental Social Governance (ESG) factors that may affect exposure to issuers, sectors, industries, limiting the type and number of investment opportunities available, which could result in excluding investments that perform well.
Back to Top