Welcome to the FIS Digital – May 2021 content hub

This conference looked at whether the COVID crisis has had a pervasive impact on the investment landscape and asked delegates to question whether some of the investment assumptions used in the past are still applicable in the future. It looked at the COVID crisis as an accelerator for key themes driving markets and predict the impact of technological innovation on businesses, the way we work and the future of the global economy. Importantly it challenged investors to think about what needs to change and how the crisis can be a catalyst for new and improved business practices and investment allocations.

You can view the full program here.

The event content hub brings together all the session videos, stories, whitepapers and background reading related to the Fiduciary Investors Symposium May 2021 program. You can search content by media type and by session themes. We hope you enjoy our coverage of these important issues facing institutional investors.


OPTrust leads on AI innovation

The C$23 billion Canadian fund OPTrust is using AI to reduce risk in a strategy it hopes to roll out to the wider portfolio. Wei Xie explains the benefits and challenges of machine learning including AI's ability to identify complex dimensional relationships.

Kotkin on China’s education and human capital challenge

In a presentation on investor risk and opportunity in China Professor Stephen Kotkin argued that unless China can improve its education system, the country will remain in the middle-income trap. Kotkin questioned whether investors might seek growth in Asia outside of China.
articlePost-COVID economy

Stiglitz: No global recovery without equal access to vaccines

Celebrated economist Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia Business School, says the slowness in developing a comprehensive approach to debt in emerging markets and developing countries will result in a weaker global recovery. He urged for a restructuring of debt in a coordinated approach between the public and private sector.
articlePost-COVID economy

Potential storms ahead in the banking sector

Panellists discuss the possible impact of corporate failures on European banks coming out of the pandemic, and note central banks juggling act around digital currencies; unable to halt their arrival but still having to marshall progress and ensure the technology doesn’t weaken financial stability. The session examined the structural trends in the financial sector that have been entire amplified or altered by the COVID crisis.

New managers struggle to get ahead via zoom

The interruptions to work and the revolution of technological tools in 2020 have changed thee way investors assess funds managers. A discussion around due diligence in a lockdown environment finds  that allocators have tended to stick with existing relationships through the pandemic making it difficult for managers approaching investors for the first time to form relationships and win mandates.
articleDistressed debt

Debunking distressed debt

The sharp market falls triggered by the pandemic brought the longest recovery ever in modern finance to an abrupt end. But despite the turmoil unleashed by COVID, it has not wrung out the market excesses of the last 13-year cycle. It means another wave of corporate failures could appear on the horizon in a shorter timeframe than expected, and offer more opportunities for distressed debt investors, according to Victor Khosla founder of SVP Global.

Changing priorities for infrastructure investors

Investors discuss how technological change and the new green economy is re-pricing assets in infrastructure, as well as the trend to substitute fixed income with infrastructure debt. But investors should not to lose sight of traditional infrastructure characteristics in their quest to tap new trends. Predictable cashflows and downside protection remain central. 
articleEmerging markets

Transparency’s many investor benefits

Research that looks at the relationship between economic transparency and defining investment qualities such as yield spreads, credit ratings and stock price volatility shows sovereign transparency helps improve the value of assets, enables countries to lower their borrowing costs and achieve a better credit rating.

Inflation is coming. Time to act

Inflation holds investor opportunities as well as perils. Emerging markets, commodities and linkers do well in a climate of rising prices while central banks are likely to act quickly and aggressively in response rather than early or gradually.

Debt levels point to subpar growth in years ahead

The unprecedented level of government debt signals sub-par economic growth ahead, warned Farouki Majeed, chief investment officer, Ohio School Employees Retirement System speaking at FIS Digital alongside Rich Randall, head of global debt at IFM Investors.

Navigating inflation: The challenge and opportunity

Inflation is the number one investor concern and whether it is here to stay was the subject of much debate at the Fiduciary Investors Symposium. While its longevity is contested it was agreed that its presence has important implications for the correlation between bonds and equities which creates problems for portfolio design. Investors at PGIM, QMAW, CPP Investments and NEST discuss.
Session recordingInfrastructure

Investing in new infrastructure

This session examined how the digitalization of economies and the shift to renewable energy offer potential long-term growth opportunities in infrastructure; and how it can play a role in long-term investor portfolios.
Session recordingDistressed Debt

Distressed debt: what now after the recovery?

Is distressed an indicator of public market activities. Given the recovery in markets, what does that mean for the opportunity in distressed? Will we see a divergence in the bond and equity markets? What are the regional differences and where are the opportunities?
articleInvestor Profile

NEST’s PE challenge to the industry

The UK defined contribution fund, NEST has added a number of new asset classes to its portfolio over the past year – including infrastructure with a focus on renewables – but the fund is still missing an allocation to private equity. CIO Mark Fawcett spoke to Amanda White about the fund’s challenge to the industry on private equity fees, its focus on climate-aware portfolios and innovative approaches to portfolio management.
articlePost-COVID economy

CalPERS CEO on the ALM challenge

The CEO of CalPERS Marcie Frost has a big year ahead. Not only is the fund still searching for a CIO, but it will also conduct its four-yearly asset liability study this year. Frost speaks to Amanda White about the challenges of the top job at the largest fund in the US and how she works to make sure the “real story” of CalPERS gets told.
PaperPost-COVID economy

Macro matters: Life after lockdown

This week marks the rather grim milestone of a year since the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 spread a global pandemic. But with vaccines being rolled out and lockdown easing, we might be glimpsing the light at the end of the tunnel. The big question remains: what will the world look like when lockdown is over?
articleFeatured Story

City of Austin looks to the future

The City of Austin Employees Retirement System has turned around its five-year performance with a focus on value in active management and deconstructing its bond portfolio. As it looks to the future CIO David Veal considers venture capital and crypto investments.
articleInvestor Profile

Debt concerns drive Ohio allocations

Farouki Majeed is worried about the future. His concerns are centred around the implications of the enormous US federal debt; the global competitiveness of the US and Chinese economies; inflation; and the potential erosion of the value of the US dollar.
ArticleFIS Digital – May 2021

Change how we invest

Should we be thinking about investment differently in 2021? Certainly, there appears to be cause for challenge of current thinking on inflation rates and the rise of China in the new world order.
ArticleFIS Digital – May 2021

Change how we work

2020 was by just about any measure, unprecedented. Market volatility, regulatory change and the need to make decisions quickly – but largely remotely – put more emphasis than ever on dynamic and effective decision-making in pension investment committees. It was a true test of robust governance.