A lack of transparency and sound data remain huge challenges in many emerging markets. So how should investors assess the risk of investing in emerging markets given the inefficient access to information? How does ‘economic transparency’ affect asset prices? The panel discussed the link between governance principles, asset prices, trust in government and investment volatility and what investors can do about it.

Speakers

Joined AP1 in December of 2000 as quant analyst developing internal risk and performance attribution system. In 2006 he joined the external management team as analyst developing tools and analysis to monitor and evaluate managers in the equity, fixed income and alternative space and later became portfolio manager with responsibility of the emerging market portfolio at AP1.

In 2015 Chammas become head of external management team at AP1 managing the external assets within equities and fixed income. In December 2019 the team was incorporated into the external partnerships and innovation team at AP1. Prior to joining AP1, he worked as consultant at Tieto Enator. Chammas has a Degree in Electro Engineering from the Royal School of Technology in Stockholm and Financial Analyst from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Marshall L. Stocker is a vice president of Eaton Vance Management, director of country research and portfolio manager on Eaton Vance’s global income team. He is responsible for buy and sell decisions, portfolio construction and risk management for equity assets managed by the global income team, including an equity fund investing in emerging and frontier markets. As director of country research, he leads a team focused on analysing country-level political-economic policies. He joined Eaton Vance in 2013.
Stocker began his career in the investment management industry in 1999. Before joining Eaton Vance, he served as co-founder and managing member of Emergent Property Advisors, LLC. Previously, he was a portfolio manager with Choate Investment Advisors and Sanderson & Stocker.
He earned a B.S. and an MBA from Cornell University, where he was a Park Leadership Fellow, and a Ph.D in Economics at Universidad Francisco Marroquin. He is also a CFA charterholder and is conversant in German and Arabic. He is a benefactor of the Cato Institute, Foundation for Economic Education and the Atlas Network. In 2017, he became a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.
Stocker’s commentary has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Financial Times and The Washington Post and Bloomberg. He has also been featured on Bloomberg Radio, Fox Business News and Nikkei CNBC Japan.

Moderator

White is responsible for the content across all Conexus Financial’s institutional media and events. She is responsible for directing the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium which challenges global investors on investment best practice and aims 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. She is the editor of www.top1000funds.com, the online news and analysis site for the world’s largest institutional investors. White has been an investment journalist for more than 20 years and has edited industry journals including Investment & Technology, Investor Weekly and MasterFunds Quarterly. She was previously editorial director of InvestorInfo and has worked as a freelance journalist for the Australian Financial Review, CFO, Asset and Asia Asset Management. She has a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney. She was previously a columnist for the Canadian publication, Corporate Knights, which is distributed by the Globe and Mail and The Washington Post. White is currently a fellow in the Finance Leaders Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. The two-year program consists of 22 fellows and seeks to develop the next generation of responsible, community-spirited leaders in the global finance industry.

Key takeaways

  • Sovereign transparency helps improve the value of assets, enables countries to lower their borrowing costs and achieve a better credit rating.
  • The discount rate on assets shrinks as transparency improves resulting in assets going up in value.
  • Key points that help sovereign transparency include economic data being published in English and regularly updated.
  • Economic development and transparency are linked, making transparency crucial for emerging markets.
  • Transparency does not create more volatility but higher levels of sovereign transparency don’t necessarily increase levels of trust in a government.
  • Some countries (like Ukraine) have relatively high levels of transparency, but struggle to subsequently enforce rules and laws to deal with the challenges transparency reveals.
  • Asset owners have an important role in engaging on transparency.
  • Swedish buffer fund AP1 uses a corporate scoring process whereby more transparency increases a company’s weighting in its index investment.
  • AP1 has begun excluding fossil fuels from its entire exposure. The process has included launching some new funds and strategies with managers.
  • The decision was based on the fund’s climate and scenario analysis and the financial risk posed from fossil fuel groups.
  • In many cases, companies have the data investors want disclosed, but are often not aware of it.
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