Much has been made throughout 2013 about the three “arrows” of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. While this deflation-fighting plan of monetary loosening, fiscal stimulus, and structural reforms has been broadly successful, I believe it will be the strength or weakness of the yen that will determine whether Japan’s economy emerges convincingly from its deflationary period in 2014.
Posts from the ‘Institutional Investor’ Category
Tapering is coming. And markets know it. The mere thought that tapering of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) program was due in September was enough to push many markets and currencies (especially emerging markets) significantly lower. So the question arises for the occasion of the actual tapering that’s likely to begin in 2014: have markets already reacted to tapering or is there more to come? Read more
Our research* shows that since 2008, European investors increasingly favour real assets, such as infrastructure and property. Before then it was mainly the preserve of large Australian and Canadian funds.
The search for yield and safe havens has created new patterns in investor behaviour, and these have grown stronger since.
Investors now recognise the value of real assets as vehicles generating real returns. Historically many investors shied away from such assets because of their lack of liquidity. However, the demand for yield is such that they are prepared to forego liquidity on larger parts of their portfolio to meet their investment targets, whether they are seeking return or inflation protection. As a result, institutional demand for infrastructure and utilities is on the rise. Read more
The use of the term duration has successfully been adopted by the high yield investment universe over the past few of years. Why? Because all else being equal, lower duration means lower interest-rate risk. And the number-one concern for fixed income investors over the past several years has been a fear of when interest rates will begin their rise to normal levels. In fixed income, if rates rise, the value of your bonds declines. And the longer your duration, the more pronounced your decline, again with the caveat all else being equal. The common way to explain duration is that it measures the sensitivity of the price of a bond to a change in interest rates and is expressed as a number of years. This is an extremely useful way to compare two fixed income investments where all else is equal. We have noticed that in a reach for yield, investors have invested in short duration high yield as a way to both gain the higher yield available in the high yield market while seemingly reducing risk by having a shorter duration portfolio. Read more
Back in the 1990s, the concept of 360-degree feedback really started to resonate with those in the human resources industry, particularly in the United States. The idea is fairly simple – that the true gauge of an employee’s performance should be based not solely upon the opinion of their manager, but rather on an amalgam of feedback from superiors, subordinates, and peers. The intent is to create a circle of input from those above, below, and around the employee to provide valuable feedback that will allow the employee to improve. As we now stride towards the midpoint of the Twenty-First Century’s second decade, it is the U.S. retirement industry that must adapt this concept to build upon successes of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (2006 Act) in the goal of creating better retirement outcomes for U.S. savers. This is the primary finding of “A 360 Degree Approach to Preparing for Retirement,” a report authored by my firm, CREATE-Research, and sponsored by the Principal Financial Group. Read more
The September jobs report was late. The shutdown of the U.S. federal government put the release back by several weeks. Then, when the data finally showed up, it was uninspiring…at best. Some might say, “meh.” (For the uninitiated, “meh” is an exclamation used to express a lack of enthusiasm). At only 148,000, the headline payroll-growth number disappointed. The pace of U.S. payroll growth has definitively slowed in the last six months, which strengthens the argument for the Fed to postpone tapering their QE program into 2014.
The mediocre details of September’s late report broke down like this. Private sector payrolls increased by only 126,000. Definitely “meh.” Read more
Credit research is tough enough without trying to do it with one arm tied behind your back. Back in the day, credit analysts would diligently put together massive spreadsheets with all kinds of metrics that explained all aspects of a company’s financial performance and credit strength. These days, however, you have quant geeks trying to boil everything down to one number that “explains it all” so that picking relative value is somehow “easier.” The most common relative-value graph produced by the Street these days is a plot of leverage versus yields. Well, in our view, easy isn’t the best in the world of high yield credit. We’ve seen numerous “credit pickers” out there focused entirely on leverage, who have totally forgotten the rest of the important credit metrics, particularly, coverage. Read more