APG's capacity to carry out its own research has meant it is ahead of the curve in allocation millions to its first local currency China fixed income strategy. APG is also setting itself up to be a catalyst for change and aims to set new standards on ESG in China.
Just as some of the world’s largest pensions funds sell down their fixed income holdings in favour of equities and private assets, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has been buying more in 2019 as it seeks to rebalance the portfolio in the event of an economic downturn.
A full-blown trade war, and changes in monetary policy triggered by a loss of credibility in the Federal Reserve and other global policy institutions, could result in a return of the positive correlation between bonds and stocks, and investors need to be aware of the risk, warned Luis Viceira, George E. Bates Professor in the Finance Unit and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Business School, at the Fiduciary Investors’ Symposium at Harvard University.
David Villa, CIO of the $110 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board is worried about the outlook for returns. As a result he’s significantly underweight sovereign bonds in favour of cash. But he’s also positioning the organisation to do better analytics for more complicated portfolios, another result of a low return environment. The fund is working on at least five data and technology projects and has hired a chief technology and operations officer.
CalPERS traded $55 billion in fixed income securites last financial year as it implemented its new internal structure apportioning fixed income assets across three groups: treasuries, spread and high yield. The asset class returned 9.6 per cent for the year.
Responsible investment has assumed an increasingly central role in fixed income portfolios and in the experience of Jørgen Krog Sæbø CIO, fixed income, and Lars Tronsgaard deputy managing director at Folketrygdfondet, which manages the Government Pension Fund Norway, one part of Norway’s Government Pension Fund, adopting a responsible investment focus builds more integrated understanding and deeper insight into companies.
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