CAMRADATA, a leading provider of data and analysis for institutional investors recently released a White Paper, ‘Where lies the future of Multi Asset Credit?’compiled following a roundtable event with leading asset managers and investors held in June 2017.
The White Paper considers the opportunities offered by Multi-Asset Credit (MAC) and investigates what the future holds for this asset class, both in this current macroeconomic climate and going forwards. Three MAC asset managers, Eaton Vance Investment Managers, Franklin Templeton Investments and Investec Asset Management also provided their own views and insights, helping to illustrate the benefit that can be derived from a Multi-Asset Credit Strategies (MACS) approach.
Sean Thompson, Managing Director, CAMRADATA said, “Global economic growth remains lack lustre and the outlook for inflation highly uncertain. Also Government bonds are losing their income generating qualities, leaving investors no choice but to look elsewhere.
“As a result MAC strategies have become increasingly popular over the past few years because of their flexible and diversified approach that makes them attractive to investors investing in this asset class,” adds Mr Thompson.
Key findings from the White Paper
MAC strategies typically offer a higher yield, while offering defensive qualities through dynamic risk management using several different credit asset classes. The strategy seeks to provide a strong income element on a consistent basis that few other assets can provide.
Credit is now seen as the go-to asset class to keep pension funds and insurers in good health. Bundles of mortgages, car loans, High Yield and Emerging Market debt are deemed more attractive on a risk-adjusted basis than holding company shares; and more generous than safer government bonds. As Justin Bourgette, a credit portfolio manager at Eaton Vance comments in the White Paper, “Credit is going to be part of the portfolio because of the attractive risk-adjusted returns.”
It is not just market returns that have caused investors to alter their traditional allocations. The regulation of pension funds and insurers has also supported more exposure to credit.
As Jeff Boswell, Strategy Leader of Developed Market Credit at Investec, points out, “Pension funds are being forced to look for more return by hunting further along the risk spectrum.” That journey brings asset owners to the likes of high yield, leveraged loans, structured credit and private debt, with a vast spectrum of available debt and credit options.
But the variety of opportunities in debt and credit also begs the question of how pension funds and insurers allocate. Do they employ specialist managers for each niche of their liking or do they appoint managers with flexibility to invest in a range of debt markets on a dynamic basis?
Alistair Sutherland, consulting director at Deloitte says, “Asset owners say they have the governance to oversee discrete mandates but most don’t. Better to give the discretion to the asset manager and leave them to use the building blocks as they see fit.” Many at the round table agreed.
Assets under management in MACS have boomed over the past three years. Tom Raftery, Credit Product Manager at Franklin Templeton, added that the popularity of MACS has led to massive product proliferation. “Buyers of MACS are in a tremendous position,” noted Raftery.
Essentially every offering is unique given the range of credit sectors that fit this type of mandate, and the differences in the philosophy, expertise, and/or geographic reach of the managers creating them. “To the extent that their research resources allow, consultants, other advisors, and investors can shop the market for MACS that offer exactly what they want in terms of sector exposure, risk/reward profile, and liquidity,” adds Raftery.
Looking to the future, the challenge for MACS is establishing their territory. Plenty of pension funds and insurers are currently looking for Alternative Credit managers. Some of the funding will come from Investment Grade portfolios. MACS managers need to win the argument that they can cover the range from IG to Alternatives.
The consultants at the CAMRADATA roundtable said the variety of MACS meant that they could be appointed in combination to increase diversification. If large bond ETFs and long-dated bond funds get hurt in a rising rate environment, then MACS will put on assets.
However, most MACS themselves have not experienced a period of rising rates; the big question for investors is which type of strategy will better suit the times ahead, when neither businesses nor governments will be able to rely on cheap money.
Sean Thompson, Managing Director, CAMRADATA adds, “The current yield challenges facing many investors undoubtedly require a new way of thinking in terms of asset allocation. While credit has long been a core income generating component of many traditional asset allocation models, the evolution of financial markets, coupled with the complexities of investing in the current environment, have cultivated a different way of credit investing. Our White Paper is therefore essential reading for investors looking at MAC strategies now and in the future.”
Click here to download the White Paper.
What should I invest and How do I invest
By Imogen Clarke, The Fry Group
With all the uncertainty that has arisen from 2020, with lockdown threatening businesses and the warning of a second wave, the topic of investments has taken on new meaning. Nowadays, more people are concerned with what makes for a good investment, or, if you’re a novice, how to best invest.
For instance, you might be unsure about the reliability of the company you’re looking to invest in, as well as the long-term prospects of your investment.
If you are unsure of your investments, then it is best to seek advice from financial experts like The Fry Group, who deal with tax, wealth and estate planning. They will see that you have a strong financial plan in place to help meet your objectives. They will develop a strategy that is built around your needs and asses any risks that could hinder your plans.
There are some things you’ll need to consider for your strategy; for instance, are you looking to make investments that are more of a risk and will take longer to come to fruition? Or, alternatively, are you wanting a faster approach that will result in a steady income? Whether or not you decide to play it safe all depends on your current financial situation and whether you have the means to take more of a risk. Do you have any other debts that take precedence over your future plans? Is your investment strategy realistic?
With the aid of a specialist – or investment manager – you can design an investment concept that works for you and your goals, and start to build a regular income from your investments. There are four main areas when it comes to assets (groups of investments) that you can consider:
Your investment manager will test the risks associated with your investment, and if it proves to be a positive investment choice, then you will be able to invest more over time.
So, how do you decide where to invest?
According to The Fry Group, ESG investing (Environmental, Social and Governance) is a good option for investors looking to support businesses that meet their similar ethics.
The main areas of ESG investing include:
- Environmental challenges (climate change, pollution, etc)
- Social issues (human rights, labour standards, child labour, etc)
- Governance considerations relating to company management
According to The Fry Group, “Many investors choose to consider ESG investing in order to ensure any investment decisions reflect personal beliefs and values. As a result, they choose to support companies who are making informed, responsible decisions which take into account their wider societal and global impact. In this way investors can achieve peace of mind that their investments are creating a positive effect.”
ESG investing is also more relevant now than ever, as more businesses are looking to present themselves as an environmentally conscious corporation that recognises the values of their consumers.
As The Fry Group puts it, “In the past, ESG investing has been seen as a niche investment approach, for a relatively small number of people with specific requirements. This has changed significantly in recent years, with a growing awareness of environmental issues such as climate change and an increasing understanding of social issues and human rights. As a result, many people are increasingly interested in reflecting their opinions and lifestyle choices through the way they invest.”
So, if you want your investments to pave the way for your personal values and reflect your own morals, then this is the route to go down. But how does it all work?
There are four areas of ESG investing:
- Responsible ownership and engagement: when companies are encouraged to make necessary improvements.
- Avoidance or negative screening: whereby businesses are ‘graded’ based on how ethical their business practices are and are avoided altogether if their methods are not approved.
- Positive screening strategies:when companies meet the ESG goals and are approved for investments.
- Impact investment strategies: the purpose of this is to use investment capital for positive social results such as renewable energy.
You will need to take into account your own personal objectives as well as the objectives that meet the ESG investment criteria. And, in terms of financial performance, ESG investing can be hugely beneficial. Those who opt for ESG investing perform a more in-depth analysis into long-term and future trends that affect industries, meaning that they are better prepared for changes in consumer values when they arise. And, with all the unpredictability that this year has offered us so far, isn’t it better to do the research and have all angles covered?
Investment Roundtable: Live with Jim Bianco
With Q4’s macro picture still looking grim amid the return of exponential coronavirus waves in Europe and the U.S. and Europe, we speak with veteran macroanalysis strategist Jim Bianco, CMT for a data-driven deep-dive into the global economy and financial markets on Sept. 7th at 12pm EDT.
- Learn from Jim’s unique combination of quantitative and qualitative analytics which provide an objective view on Rates, Currencies and Commodities to make smart investment decisions
- Identify important intermarket relationships he is watching with respect to Global Equities
- Roadmap a global outlook for 2021 in view of socio-political backdrop giving viewers key takeaways and intermarket perspectives on global investing.
Jim’s robust technical analysis includes a broad look at trends and themes in the markets, market internals, positioning such as the Commitment of Traders (COT), sentiment, and fund flows. Don’t miss out on this exclusive session from one of the investment world’s most insightful thought leaders.
Equity markets react to a rise in Covid-19 cases, uncertain Brexit talks and the upcoming US election
By Rupert Thompson, Chief Investment Officer at Kingswood
Equity markets had another choppy week, falling for most of it before recovering some of their losses on Friday and posting further gains this morning.
At their low point last week, global equities were down some 7% from their high in early September. US equities were down close to 10%, hurt by the large weighting to the tech giants which at least initially led the market decline.
The market correction is nothing out of the ordinary with 5-10% declines surprisingly common. Indeed, a set-back was arguably overdue given the size and speed of the market rebound from the low in March. As to the cause for the latest weakness, it is all too obvious – namely the second wave of infections being seen across the UK and much of Europe and the local lockdowns being imposed as a result.
These will inevitably take their toll on the economic recovery which was always set to slow significantly following an initial strong bounce. Indeed, business confidence fell back in September both here and in Europe with the declines led by the consumer-facing service sector. A further drop looks inevitable in October – fuelled no doubt in the UK by the prospect that the latest restrictions could be in place for as long as six months.
The job support package announced by Rishi Sunak did little to boost confidence. Its aim is to limit the surge in unemployment triggered by the end of the furlough scheme in October. However, the scheme is much less generous than the one it replaces as the government doesn’t want to continue subsidising jobs which are no longer viable longer term. A rise in the unemployment rate to 8% or so later this year still looks quite likely.
Aside from Covid, for the UK at least, there is of course another major source of uncertainty – namely Brexit. Another round of trade talks start this week and we are rapidly reaching crunch time with a deal needing to be largely finalised by the end of October.
Whether we end up with one or not is still far from clear. That said, the prospects for a deal maybe look rather better than they did a couple of weeks ago when the Government was busy tearing up parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. With significant Covid restrictions quite probably still in place in the new year and the Government already under attack for incompetence, it may not wish to take the flack for inflicting yet more chaos onto the economy.
Markets remain unimpressed. UK equities underperformed their global counterparts by a further 2.7% last week, bringing the cumulative underperformance to an impressive 24% so far this year. The UK weighting in the global equity index has now shrunk to all of 4.0%.
It is not only the UK which faces a few weeks of uncertainty. The US elections are on 3 November. We also have the first of three Presidential debates this Tuesday. Joe Biden’s lead looks far from unassailable, a close result could be contentious and control of Congress is also up for grabs.
All said and done, equity markets look set for a choppy few weeks. Further out, however, we remain more positive – not least because the focus should hopefully switch from the roll-out of new lockdowns to the roll-out of a vaccine.
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