FIS Digital – May 2021

Finding growth in emerging markets

Emerging markets are home to the world’s fastest-growing economies and their long-term equity returns have attracted investors. In the past several years, however, many investors may have been disappointed by lacklustre results from their emerging markets allocations. This session argued that investors should look to companies with strong secular growth to find alpha in emerging markets.


Sara Moreno is an emerging markets equity portfolio manager and research analyst. She joined Jennison in 2011. She previously spent three years with Loomis Sayles as a research analyst where she covered stocks in Latin America and emerging Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Prior to Loomis Sayles, she worked at Citi Global Markets, Goldman Sachs, and Moody’s. She received a BA in economics from Bryn Mawr College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Mark Walker is chief investment officer of Coal Pension Trustees Services (CPT), the in house executive responsible for the £21 billion of investments of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme.

Prior to joining CPT, Walker was managing director and global chief investment officer of the Univest Company, Unilever’s internal investment group. The Univest Company oversees the investments of Unilever’s pension plans in over 40 countries. Walker joined Unilever from Mercer where he was a partner and head of the London investment consulting unit.

Walker has over 25 years of experience in actuarial, pensions and investment work. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and a member of the 300 Club.


Tate has been an investment industry media publisher and conference producer since 1996. In his media career, Tate has launched and overseen dozens of print and electronic publications. He is the chief executive and major shareholder of Conexus Financial, which was formed in 2005, and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The company stages more than 20 conferences and events each year – in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Beijing, Sydney and Melbourne – and publishes five media brands, including the global website and strategy newsletter for global institutional investors One of the company’s signature events is the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium. Conexus Financial’s events aim to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts, as well as promote the long-term stability of markets and sustainable retirement incomes. Tate served for seven years on the board of Australia’s most high profile homeless charity, The Wayside Chapel; and he has underwritten the welfare of 60,000 people in 28 villages throughout Uganda via The Hunger Project.

Key takeaways

  • A poll of delegates finds over 50 per cent of attendees are not currently skewing their emerging market allocations to China in a new show of caution.
  • An active approach to investing in emerging markets where investment is focused on bottom-up opportunities in companies exposed to secular growth reaps rewards.
  • Investors are less focused on market cap and more focused on a split between regions. If investors only look at equity market cap as a signpost to future growth opportunities, they are likely to be disappointed.
  • Looking at the data, carbon emission intensity in emerging markets comes particularly from China; China is bigger than other markets.
  • Digital transformation at ground level in emerging markets is driving opportunities. It is also behind financial inclusion across populations excluded by the traditional banking sector.
  • China led the revolution, using e-commerce to increase inclusion and allowing companies to market directly to consumers.
  • One of the most important secular growth trends in China is in healthcare where the aging population is also wealthier, with money to spend.
  • Regarding investment in private equity in China, the biggest risk is permanent loss of capital. Investors should focus on individual investments at a micro level.
  • Emerging economies are no longer export led. For sure, Chinese growth has fuelled commodity, export-led demand in many emerging economies but now the emerging markets need to focus on local growth.

Poll results

Is your emerging markets allocation skewed towards China?

Join the discussion