Consultant Outlooks: 2021

The data in this report is sourced from eVestment Market Lens. Among other insights into consultant perspectives such as manager ratings, Market Lens harvests documents from public plans, then extracts and structures insights from those documents, including capital markets assumptions. To review these findings or learn how you can conduct analysis like this on the return assumptions most relevant to you: contact

Preliminary Highlights

As of 25 March 2021

  • Average return expectations decline for 2021. Consultants’ 10-YR return assumptions declined YoY across nearly all strategies. Commodities showed the steepest drop, -146 bps from the prior year, and several fixed income strategies were reduced by over -100 bps as well.
  • Four of every five return assumptions show reductions from last year. Among consultants with intermediate term assumptions included in both this year’s and last year’s analysis, and concerning only the 17 strategy categories where we present YoY changes in these intermediate term expectations, 80.30% of the individual revisions show reductions in expectations.
  • Infrastructure return expectations changed little, but expected volatility is on the rise. Return expectations for infrastructure persisted at the same level over the last three years, but volatility has been increasing.
  • Private Equity and Emerging Markets Equity expected to be most volatile. Returns assumptions for private equity are higher than most strategies, 8.38% annualized in the intermediate term, but volatility averaged a high of 27.37%.
  • Fixed Income strategies among the highest in average return decreases YoY. With the Fed lowering rates to zero in 2020 and seemingly poised to keep them low for a sustained period, it was not too surprising to see US Bank Loan, US TIPS, and US Core among the strategies with the largest downward revisions heading into 2021.

Access the data behind the trends