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The Robeco approach for credits

Robeco’s credit team has an investment style that focuses on thorough research, on which every investment is based. We believe that the management of a corporate bond portfolio is not about selecting a few of the best bonds, it is about avoiding the losers in a well-diversified portfolio. This generates alpha.

The team follows its own research, not public opinion or the general consensus. “We always aim to act contrarily in our portfolios,” says Sander Bus, head of the credit team.

Macro approach for beta positioning
Global trends are an important element in the investment approach. These are analyzed every quarter, as external specialists such as brokers and strategists discuss specific market themes together with our analysts and portfolio managers in order to assess the risks and opportunities in the credit market. This top-down macro approach forms the input for the desired beta positioning of the portfolios. Victor Verberk, co-head of the credit team: “Understanding the global macro economic environment is essential to understanding our investment category.”

Sector focus for knowledge advantage
The Robeco credit team consists of 27 portfolio managers, credit analysts, researchers and traders. The team invests globally and applies an integrated approach for investment grade, high yield and emerging credits strategies. This approach is unique. Analysts have a sector responsibility irrespective of grade or country of origin. After all, sector developments are global and therefore should be monitored and analyzed from a global perspective. This approach gives the analysts a knowledge advantage and gives the team the possibility to capitalize on the inefficiencies that occur as a result of existing market segmentations. The credit analysts in the team are all very experienced in their sector. They are offered the possibility to advance their careers within their disciplines and to rise above their international peers with their expertise and seniority.

Sustainability research, integral part of issuer selection
Each analysis is carried out according to a predefined framework. Issuers are analyzed based on five components, i.e. company strategy, company position, financial profile, company structure and sustainability criteria. With regard to sustainability, the analyst analyzes the downside risk resulting from poor scores on Environmental, Social and Governance factors. The sustainability analysis is thus an integrated part of our credit research.

The Robeco credit team manages approximately EUR 21 billion in various funds and mandates as of the end of April 2014. Assets under management have increased by approximately 25% a year since 2008.
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