In the US, despite moderate growth, we see very attractive valuations while many emerging markets are undervalued. But 7% growth in China is unrealistic.
EM debt is a relatively new asset class. In any liquid format, it's only been around for about 20 years - and the most attractive part of the EM debt market has yet to re-rate.
It is given that we all are wired to act foolishly sometimes, so how can we be better "choice architects" and "decision reassurers" for ourselves and our clients?
This presentation addresses the importance of developing improved and dynamic investment approaches that seek to better understand and manage total portfolio risk as well as identify sources of return.
Individuals are vulnerable to economic and financial risks as they approach and enter retirement. Insights from behavioural finance can be used to enhance risk communication and retirement outcomes.
Investors should be aware of the risks they are exposed to within a portfolio and when they're being paid to take risk (or not). A different approach is needed to build portfolios with better risk awareness.
Formal reports redolent with data and analysis fail to communicate risks as people actually feel them. Reports need to be replaced by rapports, by engaged conversations.
The empirical relation between risk and return in emerging equity markets is flat, or even negative - including controlling for exposures to the size, value and momentum effects.
Company fundamentals don't change nearly as much as equity market prices - and therein lies an opportunity for investors with a longer-term view.
To achieve absolute return objectives, many risk management techniques remain relevant but their application and focus need to change.
Demographic understanding is now one of the most important elements in the areas of government and - importantly for investors - future drivers in financial market returns.
Bonds are no longer risk free. It's time to accept the idea and move on - to broaden the traditional idea of fixed-income as a form of risk mitigation and view it also as a risk-and-return proposition.
China's taken a tough approach to its periphery. This doesn't necessarily spell doom and gloom for Australia and the region.
If geopolitics is far more important in considering investment markets today, how do we integrate geopolitics into portfolio construction?
With global volatility at multi decade lows, the critical questions become: should we be worried or relaxed? What next? In fact, quiescent markets should be feared, not embraced.
In recent years, the risk parity approach to asset allocation has been gaining popularity. Evidence supports it but confidence in its efficacy requires a theoretical justification.
As we sit today with some unprecedented market conditions, it's probably more relevant than ever to understand both sides of the risk and return equation in the fixed income space.
Is risk parity's outperformance in the past decade sustainable or just a quirk of the unusual markets.
To flourish in the robo-advice era, portfolio construction practitioners must provide clients with a positive Return on Attention (ROA), Intimacy (ROI) and Empathy (ROE).
What return premia - if any - are attached to different types of investment risk? And just how reliable those premia are in practice? Can the risks be diversified?
For many Australians, their house is one of their biggest assets, if not the biggest. But a leveraged owner-occupied home is riskier than the sharemarket.
We need to relate to investors in such a way that they can once again know and trust that financial security is a fact, not a feeling.
The traditional approach to portfolio construction is to own a diversified portfolio, adjusting total risk up or down. An alternative is to take a bucket approach.
A sustained period of lower global growth, rich valuations from traditional assets and an eerie calm before the storm in asset price volatility require a different approach to asset allocation.
Public equity valuations have disconnected from underlying earnings and there is a distorted link between perceived and actual risk.
In managing a risk on/risk off world, investors can maintain or increase exposure to growth assets while experiencing a smoother ride.
The top six stocks in the ASX 300 represent 45% of market cap and 50% of market risk. A 4% TE constrained manager must hold 15%-20% in these six stocks even if they do not like them.
The seismic shift in fixed income after a 30-year bull market for bonds has created significant portfolio construction challenges and opportunities.
To ensure risk is genuinely well diversified takes a forward-looking scenario-analysis process to combine quantitative rigor with qualitative insights of the plausible but unlikely extreme stresses we might face.
When looking to reconnect risk and return in portfolios, what better place to start than with the barometer of equity market risk itself?
The size of the global infrastructure asset universe will expand from $40 trillion earlier this decade to over $110 trillion by 2030, presenting significant opportunities to invest.
Alpha Potential is gaining traction as another important quantitative tool. Its use lies in identifying opportunities for active management of Australian equities amongst other asset classes.
Investing in unconstrained fixed income strategies with more flexibility to change duration and sector exposures can have a positive impact on a portfolio’s overall risk and return profile.
If risk and return are imperfectly linked, there is opportunity to increase average return, without increasing risk - particularly in equity markets where risk is mispriced.
In many cases, fundamental risk and return characteristics have been shown the door as funds have flowed into ever lower yielding income asset classes.
The last decade has seen a distinct disconnect between investment risk and return, versus what we're taught should be the case.
Fixed income has changed, and is very different today versus what it was years ago. It makes sense to evolve your portfolios accordingly.
What are the questions that everyone is asking today? When will interest rates spike? And, what about the increased rate of inflation? One has to accept the changing nature of these two elements.
The constant challenge is to keep clients focused on their wealth goal when they are distracted by the many other factors that influence their perception of risk.
To improve client outcomes, financial practitioners must master six basic response skills.
Belief and philosophy when it comes to investing are not enough. Without culture and rigour, it is highly unlikely an investor will maintain their beliefs in all market conditions and cycles.
A common belief amongst financial practitioners is that investors and clients understand the investment objective. But are our investment beliefs a reflection of reality or investment myths?
Needleman said, "Money has a way to bring reality to situations". If so, the challenge is to have more scientific clarity helping to expose what money (and therefore investing) represents in a client's world.
Finology is the emerging (and converging) research field covering the study of minds, customs and behaviours with respect to money. It incorporates behavioural finance, and much, much more.
There may be rocks ahead. Reconnecting risk and return must be the right focus - but thinking conventional tools will keep us out of trouble may be a mistake.
Going forward, instead of 5% real, traditional stocks and bonds will offer about 2.5%. But there are many things you can do to bridge the gap.
Here are some brief thoughts on four issues that matter a lot, in our view. Two have been poorly discussed in the financial press, and the other two have been ignored completely.
Three interrelated aspects of practically managing client portfolios - constructing portfolios using buckets, diversifying human capital, and the Withdrawal Policy Statement.
Our Symposium NZ 2014 faculty debated that the best way for practitioners to manage a client's primary risk of not meeting their objectives is to manage the long-term uncertainty of returns.
This paper and presentation argue that starting period equity valuations impact not just medium-term equity returns, but medium-term equity volatility and bond-equity correlations also.
This paper and presentation argue against the use of debt-weighted benchmarks for global bond managers, in favour of a better approach to setting an appropriate benchmark.
This paper and presentation argue that understanding what is going on under the bonnet at central banks is key to understanding what will drive markets, and how best to position portfolios.
Using risk factors in evaluating investments in the portfolio construction process can provide valuable information about the true drivers of performance.
There's some evidence that some managers can add (relatively) consistent value net of costs. Can we (or anyone) identify them?
Are the human and organisational barriers to being better investors insurmountable, or can we learn and improve our decision-making?
Typically, MPT has focused solely on how to invest within classes, not amongst them. But MPT continues to evolve.
Recorded at the recent Symposium 2014, this session examined the truth as to whether regulation makes markets more efficient or causes markets to produce lower returns.
In the wake of the GFC, the public's belief in the free market has taken a battering. But for all its flaws, capitalism remains the best way of creating prosperity.
This paper and presentation provide an introduction to the risk tolerance paradox, exploring the main reason it exists, and introducing risk management strategies that seek to solve the problem.
This paper and presentation argue that there are real sign-posts that clearly suggest that the US is off its knees and ready to surprise the world on the upside, with significant implications for markets and portfolios.
This paper and presentation argue that the bond market can offer compensation against rising rates through roll down and active management of forwards.
Central banks must complete the Great Unwind – removing ultra-easy monetary policies. The critical period for markets will come when the Fed lifts short-term rates (probably, but not necessarily, after tapering ends).
The majority of the world will see an improvement in economic growth this year. While equities remain the most attractive asset class, they will need a more nimble approach.
Graham Rich opened Symposium 2014 in his usual thought-provoking (and entertaining) way, highlighting key issues to consider over the jam-packed, marathon program.
Whatever return forecasts you make will be wrong - so you better have a portfolio that has the opportunity to make money in a very broad spectrum of investment outcomes.
Valuation is not just an important driver of investment returns but also of investment volatility.
Divorcing your debt benchmark and adopting more unconstrained approach to debt investing and offering degrees of freedom to the portfolio manager is the new "core".
2014 is likely to be a year of genuine improvement in the global economy, and one where uncertainty is rather low.
Increasing corporate activity in the US, and a more positive US macro-economic backdrop make US micro-cap stocks a good place to invest for the next five to 10 years.
Normal is not our experience - today's world is different from anything in the history of human capitalism. The Aquarium Theory of Investing is one way to gain perspective.
Our Markets Summit faculty debated two critical issues arising from Unconventional Monetary Policy; for the coming two to three years, to substantially overweight DM vs EM Equities in portfolios and substantially overweight Short vs Long Duration Bonds.
We must challenge common assumptions about the US and emerging markets to ensure we are focusing on the best routes to the right destination.
Emerging Markets were a focal point in 2013, repricing as US stimulus, commodity prices and China's boom subsided. In future, EM performance will depend on individual merit.
The US is the critical market of the global economy - and there are sign-posts that clearly suggest it is ready to surprise on the upside, with significant implications for portfolios.
A rise in US Treasury yields is likely to have a profound impact on benchmarks. Bonds should remain a critical component of portfolios, but a more active approach is necessary.
Think about bonds as an insurance policy for portfolios. With higher yields available, very cheap insurance is even better able to pay for hurdles facing portfolios.
To achieve the Great Escape, central banks must first complete the Great Unwind – the removal of ultra-easy monetary policies. So what is the roadmap for the Great Unwind?
Ultra-low interest rates and QE have offset the deflationary forces of debt deleveraging. The challenge policy makers face is when to withdraw the stimulus to avert inflation.
Breaking Unconventional Monetary Policy (B.U.M.P.) and it's impact on global financial stability is the key risk for the foreseeable future.
In a Great Escape world, ignoring the index and actively seeking growth investments regardless of size or weightings is more important than ever.
The ability to pick inflection points in markets as well as deploying TAA across credit will be the key ingredient going forward.
Short-term rates are likely to remain low for a prolonged period of time. Investors will still need to source yield, they'll simply have to be more creative to find it.
After a half decade of weakness, robust growth in the US and UK is setting the stage for unconventional monetary policies to be unwound.
There is no doubt that some countries are better placed than others in The Great Escape. In fact, Australia and NZ have the chance to be rock star economies of the 21st century.
If the US and China prove to be prescient and 'ahead of the curve', financial markets will flourish; if they dawdle, we'll see yet another boom and bust cycle that ends in tears.
Most of the world will see an improvement in economic growth this year. Equities are by far the most attractive asset class - but they will be much more volatile.
Today's long period of very easy money and very low yields has distorted the financial system. This will cause unintended consequences in the near future as QE ends.
The thought-provoking (and entertaining) introduction to Markets Summit 2014 - The Great Escape - What will markets be like in the QE runout?