Greener, growth markets and solid profits
This year, with 16 webinars, FIF zoomed in on various trends, strategies and forecasts in the fund world. A selection out of the wide range.
Theme 1: Sustainability
The market for green bonds is worth over 600 billion today. In his presentation, Bram Bos, Lead Portfolio Manager Green Bonds Strategies at NN Investment Partners, focused on the norms for green bonds. “Publishers voluntarily comply with these, and the way in which they do this can vary. That is why active management plays a crucial role in the selection of the right green bonds.”
A successful energy transition is an important condition for solving the climate crisis. “Via targeted investments in solutions related to green hydrogen, smart grids, electric vehicles and battery storage, we are aiming for promising market opportunities and a better world in the coming 20 years,” says Edward Lees in an inspiring webinar. Since 2019, he is Co-Lead PM Energy Transition Strategy at BNP Paribas Asset Management.
“Impact investing is not the same as ESG,” clarified Kelly Hebert, Head of Belux at M&G Investments. “ESG dismisses companies that do not operate sufficiently in a sustainable way. Meanwhile, impact investing focuses on companies that, through their products and services, offer positive and mainly measurable solutions for global challenges.” Kelly Hebert took a closer look at strategies that M&G uses today when investing in international impactful, stock market listed companies.
Theme 2: Emerging markets
“Onshore Chinese bonds and shares are too big to still ignore,” believes Luke Richdale, Head of the Emerging Markets and Asia Pacific Equities Specialist team at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. While the Chinese shares and bonds markets are the second largest in the world, international investors have only just started to discover the onshore markets. “These shares offer access to attractive, structural growth trends, such as consumption improvement, domestic technology and innovation in healthcare.”
Theme 3: Multi-asset & Convertible bonds
The Horizon strategies of Degroof Petercam Asset Management (DPAM) have proven that they can build solid profits in the long term. They use one-stop portfolios, with a strong diversification spread across asset classes, countries, investment styles and financial tools. “We aim for an attractive risk-profit profile, through active portfolio management, based on strong convictions that capitalise on investment opportunities,” explained Casper De Ceuster, CFA at DPAM.
Credit provider becomes shareholder
Convertible bonds offer embedded share options. They part of a form of financing whereby investors start as credit providers with the option to end as shareholders. “We experience that convertible bonds are starting to represent a separate asset class,” discussed Arnaud Brillois, CFA at LAZARD. “Their liquidity identity is the strength of convertible bonds. In general, they show bond-like characteristics in downward share markets, and share-like characteristics in upward markets.”
In times of low interests, clients with a low risk willingness are looking for alternatives to generate income. Life insurances can provide an answer. Depending on the chosen asset and the underlying structure, tak 23 products can offer a certain degree of security. “The expected yield of these structures is dependent on the underlying construct,” explained Sébastien Leclercq, CAIA at Belfius Insurances. “For our clients, we combine security with the upward potential of the stock markets.”
Now that the pension benefits in the first pillar are under huge pressure, supplementary company pensions are becoming increasingly essential for everyone. “But to make supplementary pensions more accessible and transparent for everyone, a generalisation and deepening of the second pillar is needed – whilst retaining the fiscal framework and the acquired rights of the participants,” advocates Ann Verlinden, Secretary-General at PensioPlus.