Equities should outperform bonds in pension plans in 2013, according to fund managers in the United Kingdom.

According to Aon Hewitt’s recent fund manager survey, 31 percent of respondents believed that global equities would be the top performer in 2013 and nearly a quarter of those polled predicted that emerging market equities would finish the year on top, even though they had a weak start to the year with marginal falls in the first quarter.

European equities landed on both the best and worst investments lists and investment-grade credit was expected to deliver the weakest returns in 2013. Inflation-linked bonds were the second most likely poor performer, despite a strong start to the year.

Aon Hewitt surveyed 120 fund managers, representing £10 trillion of assets under management, across the United Kingdom.

Despite fund managers’ positive outlooks for equities over bonds, Aon Hewitt cautions that the markets are unpredictable and that the first quarter’s performance could be an unreliable guide to market conditions for the year as a whole.

“The results of this survey reveal just how quickly the outlook for asset classes can change,” said Tapan Datta, global head of asset allocation at Aon Hewitt. “While pension funds are long-term investors and we do not necessarily encourage a short-term view, this data does highlight the need for pension funds to monitor fluid market conditions and to be able to move swiftly where necessary.”